Publication Details

Gallagher, S., Hutto, D. D., Ilundain-Agurruza, J., Kirchhoff, M., Miyahara, K. and Robertson, I. 2019. Minds in skilled performance: From phenomenology to cognitive explanations. Annual Review of the Phenomenological Association of Japan 35: 1-20.


Performing successfully, in any domain, depends on being in the right state of mind. An experienced athlete might fail to make a well-practiced move distracted by a fellow athlete's unsolicited advice given to her in the last minute before the game. An expert driver may fumble at making a simple manoeuvre, distracted by the pain developing in his lower back after hours of driving. A student can fail at a math test despite his devoted preparation, his nerves getting the better of him on the test day. Such occurrences are all too familiar. But what exactly goes wrong in all these cases? Characterizing the right state of mind needed for skilled performance poses a vexing theoretical challenge.

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