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The ability to produce creative solutions is a key part of expert performance. The aim of this study was to identify the visual search behaviors that underpin superior creative performance of skilled soccer players during simulated a-side match play. Clips were occluded at a key moment and they were required to play the ball in response to each situation presented. Moreover, they were required to name other additional actions they could execute for each situation.
Creative performance on the task was measured using the three criteria of originality, flexibility, and fluency of decisions. Visual search behaviors were examined using a portable eye-movement registration system. The most-creative players produced more appropriate, original, flexible, and fluid decisions compared to least-creative players. The creativity-based differences in judgment were underpinned by differences in visual search strategy.
Most-creative players employed a broader attentional focus including more fixations of shorter duration and towards more informative locations of the display compared with least-creative players. Moreover, most-creative players detected teammates in threatening positions earlier in the attacking play. Creative performance is underpinned by different underlying visual processes when compared to less-creative performance, which appears to be crucial in facilitating more creative solutions.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Data Availability: All relevant data are within the paper and its Supporting Information files. Competing interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
The ability to produce creative solutions is key to expert performance in sport. In soccer, for example, an attribute of high-performance players is the ability to be novel and surprising in their decision-making processes under time constraints, thereby allowing them to be more effective in unique performance situations and make it more difficult for opponents to predict what they do next. Creativity is defined as the ability of the performer to produce solutions that are both novel i.