The perils of automaticity

Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormat 
Perils_of_automaticity.docx102.79 kBMicrosoft WordDownload
Title: The perils of automaticity
Authors: Toner, John
Montero, Barbara Gail
Moran, Aidan P.
Permanent link:
Date: Dec-2015
Abstract: Classical theories of skill acquisition propose that automatization (i.e., performance requires progressively less attention as experience is acquired) is a defining characteristic of expertise in a variety of domains (e.g., Fitts & Posner, 1967). Automaticity is believed to enhance smooth and efficient skill execution by allowing performers to focus on strategic elements of performance rather than on the mechanical details that govern task implementation (see Williams & Ford, 2008). By contrast, conscious processing (i.e., paying conscious attention to one’s action during motor execution) has been found to disrupt skilled movement and performance proficiency (e.g., Beilock & Carr, 2001). On the basis of this evidence, researchers have tended to extol the virtues of automaticity. However, few researchers have considered the wide range of empirical evidence which indicates that highly automated behaviours can, on occasion, lead to a series of errors that may prove deleterious to skilled performance. Therefore, the purpose of the current paper is to highlight the perils, rather than the virtues, of automaticity. We draw on Reason’s (1990) classification scheme of everyday errors to show how an over-reliance on automated procedures may lead to three specific performance errors (i.e., mistakes, slips and lapses) in a variety of skill domains (e.g., sport, dance, music). We conclude by arguing that skilled performance requires the dynamic interplay of automatic processing and conscious processing in order to avoid performance errors and to meet the contextually-contingent demands that characterise competitive environments in a range of skill domains.
Type of material: Journal Article
Publisher: American Psychological Association
Copyright (published version): 2015 American Psychological Association
Keywords: AutomaticityExpertisePerformance errorCognitive control
DOI: 10.1037/gpr0000054
Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Appears in Collections:Psychology Research Collection

Show full item record

Citations 50

Last Week
Last month
checked on Aug 9, 2018

Google ScholarTM



This item is available under the Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Ireland. No item may be reproduced for commercial purposes. For other possible restrictions on use please refer to the publisher's URL where this is made available, or to notes contained in the item itself. Other terms may apply.