Ecological dynamics of continuous and categorical decision-making: the regatta start in sailing

ARAÚJO, Duarte, DAVIDS, Keith, DINIZ, Ana, ROCHA, Luis, SANTOS, João, SANTOS, Coelho, DIAS, Gonçalo and FERNANDES, Orlando (2015). Ecological dynamics of continuous and categorical decision-making: the regatta start in sailing. European Journal of Sport Science, 15 (3), 195-202.

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Link to published version:: 10.1080/17461391.2014.928749


Ecological dynamics of decision-making in the sport of sailing exemplifies emergent, conditionally coupled, co-adaptive behaviours. In this study, observation of the coupling dynamics of paired boats during competitive sailing showed that decision-making can be modelled as a self-sustained, co-adapting system of informationally coupled oscillators (boats). Bytracing the spatial-temporal displacements of the boats, time series analyses (autocorrelations, periodograms and running correlations) revealed that trajectories of match racing boats are coupled more than 88% of the time during a pre-start race, via continuous, competing co-adaptions between boats. Results showed that both the continuously selected trajectories of the sailors (12 years of age) and their categorical starting point locations were examples of emergent decisions. In this dynamical conception of decision-making behaviours, strategic positioning (categorical) and continuous displacement of a boat over the course in match-race sailing emerged as a function of interacting task, personal and environmental constraints. Results suggest how key interacting constraints could be manipulated in practice to enhance sailors' perceptual attunement to them in competition.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Special Issue: Science in sailing
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Sports Engineering Research
Identification Number: 10.1080/17461391.2014.928749
Depositing User: Carole Harris
Date Deposited: 26 May 2016 14:37
Last Modified: 26 May 2016 14:37

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