Degree Name

Master of Science in Education

Department or Program



Porter, Jared M


For more than a decade focus of attention studies have shown an external focus is superior for performance compared to an internal focus of attention. The constrained action hypothesis suggests this occurs because an external focus of attention allows movement to happen more autonomously compared to an internal focus of attention. The purpose of the current experiment was to investigate if the benefit of an external focus of attention would still exist when participants were asked to change their focus of attention mid-trial. Based on the constrained action hypothesis and the findings of previous research it was hypothesized that participants’ (N= 21) balance on a stabilometer would be superior when using an external focus (i.e., keep the markers level) compared to their balance on a stabilometer when using an internal focus (i.e., keep your feet level). Results did not reveal significant differences in RMSE of the external (M = 6.73, SD = 1.15) and internal (M = 6.09, SD = 1.16) attentional foci. These findings are not with the majority of focus of attention research. Due to these findings it is suggested that practitioners avoid switching their verbal instructions mid-trial. Also future studies should consider using additional dependent variables (i.e. MPF) or conditions where participants do not switch foci mid-trial so a better understanding can be found in regard to the processes that are occurring when participants switch focus of attention mid-trial.