Aidan Moran

Aidan Moran
University College Dublin | UCD · School of Psychology

About

212
Publications
200,423
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5,659
Citations
Citations since 2016
49 Research Items
3477 Citations
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
20162017201820192020202120220100200300400500600
Introduction
Aidan Moran is Full Professor of Cognitive Psychology and Director of the Psychology Research Laboratory in the School of Psychology, University College Dublin, Ireland. A Fulbright Scholar and Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (USA), he and his research team investigate mental/motor imagery (especially “mental practice” or the discovery that rehearsing a skill in one’s imagination can improve its subsequent performance), attention (using eye-tracking technology, and the cognitive processes underlying expertise (exceptionally skilled performance) in fields like sport, surgery and music. He has written/co-authored 21 psychology books, the most recent of which is Managing Your Own Learning at University: A Practical Guide (3rd ed, Dublin: UCD Press, Sept 2018).

Publications

Publications (212)
Book
How do great athletes defy the power law of practice, according to which improvements in skill eventually plateau? To solve this puzzle, this book presents a theory of ‘continuous improvement’ which emphasizes the role that conscious processes play in maintaining and advancing skilled performers’ movement capacities. It argues that continuous impro...
Chapter
This penultimate chapter considers how athletes might develop the ability to exert attentional control. It outlines some approaches that might help athletes to switch their focus or re-distribute patterns of attention when they realize they have adopted task-irrelevant thoughts. It evaluates the use of mindfulness, quiet-eye training, pressurized t...
Chapter
Prominent theories of skill acquisition posit that the performing body is absent during ‘habitualized’ or well-learned action. This chapter challenges this position by arguing that the body is never forgotten during skilled movement. Instead, it possesses what might be termed an enduring presence. Drawing on Colombetti’s (2011) taxonomy of the bodi...
Chapter
In this chapter, the phenomenon of continuous improvement is introduced and it is suggested that conscious processes play a crucial role in the maintenance and improvement of performance proficiency among skilled performers. This thesis is intriguing because it runs counter to a body of research warning us of the perils of thinking too much, or eve...
Chapter
A large volume of research has shown that acquiring expertise in any domain is heavily influenced by the amount of deliberate practice (DP) the performer engages in over time. This chapter provides an overview of Ericsson’s highly influential theory of deliberate practice (DP) and argues that DP is essential if performers are to maintain and improv...
Chapter
The final chapter synthesizes the arguments presented over the course of the book by suggesting that skill execution continues to be governed by conscious processes even after performers have attained a high level of expertise. It argues that skill-focused attention is necessary if experts are to eschew proceduralization and react flexibly to ‘cris...
Chapter
This chapter considers whether optimal/peak performance is as automatic or ‘mindless’ as many accounts of expertise suggest. It starts by exploring the phenomenon known as ‘flow’ which is typically presented as evidence that peak performance is mindless or automatic in nature. It then reviews recent literature in this area which reveals that the mi...
Chapter
What is the role of habitual movement in expert action? This chapter begins by reviewing traditional conceptualizations of habit according to which our well-learned movements are mechanical-like tendencies to respond to stimuli in a preordained manner. It then draws on a range of theoretical perspectives which emphasize the generative nature of hab...
Chapter
What role might intuition and deliberation play during the performance of well-learned skills? Dreyfus and Dreyfus’ (1986) influential phenomenological analysis of skill-acquisition proposes that expert performance is guided by non-cognitive responses which are fast, effortless, and intuitive in nature. Although Dreyfus and Dreyfus (1986) recognize...
Chapter
After identifying some of the weaknesses associated with linear, or serial, models of skill learning—with a focus on their failure to fully account for the ongoing relevance of motor control and attention to action—this chapter synthesizes the evidence presented over the course of this book to construct a model of skilled action that captures the c...
Chapter
A considerable volume of research has explored spectators’ attraction to the aesthetic aspects of sport. However, considerably less attention has been devoted to an evaluation of the aesthetic dimension of sport from the performer’s perspective. This chapter hypothesizes that such evaluation can benefit athletic skill. It substantiates and elucidat...
Chapter
Full-text available
Although adopting an explicit, conscious “body focus” may, at times, hinder performance and impede improvement, we shall present some reasons to think that in highly skilled bodily activities, such a focus is often advantageous to both practice and performance. To make our case, we marshal empirical studies that suggest that certain groups of exper...
Article
We used a novel meta regression analysis approach principles to examine the effectiveness of psychological skills training and behavioral interventions in sport assessed using single-case experimental designs (SCEDs). One hundred and twenty-one papers met the inclusion criteria applied to eight database searches and key sport psychology journals. S...
Chapter
Expert performance and feats of human endurance – both sporting and non-sporting – typically require the ability to be aware of, and exert control over, one’s own thoughts and actions in order to achieve a desired goal or outcome (i.e., self-regulation; Forgas, Baumeister, & Tice, 2009).
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the influence of the mind on behaviour and experience requires a comprehensive account of underlying mechanisms (i.e., the processes that underlie behaviour). This opinion article explores the neurocognitive mechanisms underlying imagery-related psychopathology. Imagery is a psychological process that exploits mental representations t...
Article
Recent years have witnessed a profusion of research on athletic expertise - or the characteristics, skills, and knowledge that distinguish elite performers from less skilled counterparts. Unfortunately, relatively few studies have been conducted on the cognitive mechanisms (i.e., interaction between basic cognitive processes) underlying expertise i...
Article
Full-text available
The study of choreography in dance offers researchers an intriguing window on the relationship between expertise, imagination, and attention in the creative process of learning new movements. The present study investigated an unresolved issue in this field – namely, the effects of expertise on motor imagery (MI; or the mental rehearsal of actions w...
Chapter
Full-text available
In this chapter, we explore the aforementioned paradigm shifts and how they offer an ave nue for new research. We first elucidate what precisely “ mental imagery,” the parent construct of motor imagery, is and explain the research milestones that have elucidated our understanding of this complex topic. The construct of motor imagery has become a th...
Article
Full-text available
Eye tracking technology records the location, duration and sequence of people’s visual fixations when they inspect a given scene. In this way, it elucidates what people pay attention to when they look at sources of information. The present paper investigates some practical implications of this technology for attentional training in applied sport ps...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study was to test the feasibility of a theory-based self-regulation intervention to increase older adolescents' leisure time physical activity (LTPA) behavior. Forty-nine adolescents (M = 15.78 years; SD = 0.52; 31% female) from two schools agreed to participate. Participants were randomly assigned to the experimental or control...
Chapter
Understanding the neurological changes that take place as expertise develops is a central topic in both cognitive psychology and cognitive neuroscience. Here, we argue that video games, despite previous misconceptions, are an excellent model environment from which one can examine the development of neurocognitive expertise. Of particular relevance...
Article
Motor imagery has been central to advances in sport performance and rehabilitation. Neuroscience has provided techniques for measurement which have aided our understanding, conceptualization and theorizing. Challenges remain in the appropriate measurement of motor imagery. Motor imagery continues to provide an impetus for new findings relating to o...
Chapter
Full-text available
A large body of experimental evidence is commonly cited in support of a view called “the attentional focus effect,” which is the hypothesis that focusing on the body (typically designated as an “internal” focus of attention) leads to suboptimal results relative to focusing on the consequences of bodily actions (commonly regarded as an “external” fo...
Article
Full-text available
It has long been established that pupillary responses provide a valid and reliable window on the “intensity” of mental activity or cognitive effort (Hess & Polt, 1964; Kahneman & Beatty, 1966). As these responses are routinely and noninvasively measured during eye-tracking, they constitute a promising tool for the study of the cognitive mechanisms...
Book
Managing Your Own Learning at University is a practical self-help guide for new and continuing students who are faced with taking responsibility for their own studies in college and university. This completely revised and updated third edition of Aidan Moran’s best-selling book offers a wealth of practical tips on doing your best when it matters mo...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives: To investigate the impact of a six-month multi-ingredient nutrition supplement intervention (Smartfish®), containing omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), vitamin D, resveratrol, and whey protein, on cognitive function in Irish older adults. Design: Double-blind, randomised controlled trial (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02001831). A...
Article
Motor imagery (MI) involves consciously performing an action in our minds without engaging in overt physical movement. Although inhibition is crucial to MI, few studies have explored the nature of inhibitory mechanisms underlying this construct. Therefore, little progress has been made in elucidating how or when inhibition is implemented during MI....
Article
Full-text available
Introduction: Cognitive training is an important training modality which allows the user to rehearse a procedure without physically carrying it out. This has led to recent interests to incorporate cognitive training within surgical education but research is currently limited. The use of cognitive training in surgery is not clear-cut and so this stu...
Chapter
Motor imagery has been central to adzvances in sport performance and rehabilitation. Neuroscience has provided techniques for measurement which have aided our understanding, conceptualization and theorizing. Challenges remain in the appropriate measurement of motor imagery. Motor imagery continues to provide an impetus for new findings relating to...
Poster
Full-text available
The attentional mechanisms underlying motor imagery remain unclear. Thus, two studies using pupillometry investigated attentional allocation during expert pianists’ executed and imagined piano playing. Results revealed that easy movements required similar levels of attentional effort during execution and imagery. However, neurocognitive congruence...
Article
Full-text available
Motor simulation theory (MST; Jeannerod, 2001) purports to explain how various action- related cognitive states relate to actual motor execution. Specifically, it proposes that 78 79 motor imagery (MI; imagining an action without executing the movements involved) shares certain mental representations and mechanisms with action execution, and hence,...
Chapter
The term “attention” refers to people's ability to focus on information derived either from the external world or from internal sources such as their memory and imagination. In sport psychology, attentional processes such as “concentration,” or the ability to focus mental effort on the task at hand while ignoring distractions, are regarded as vital...
Article
Background: There is a need for new approaches to surgical training in order to cope with the increasing time pressures, ethical constraints, and legal limitations being placed on trainees. One of the most interesting of these new approaches is "cognitive training" or the use of psychological processes to enhance performance of skilled behaviour....
Article
Full-text available
Since the 1990s, eye-tracking researchers have investigated expert–novice differences in visual attentional processes among athletes. One such difference concerns the quiet eye (QE) phenomenon, or the time that elapses between a skilled performer’s last fixation on a specific target and the subsequent initiation of a relevant motor response. Despit...
Article
Full-text available
Sport science is a relatively recent domain of research born from the interactions of different disciplines related to sport. According to the European College of sport science ( http://sport-science.org ): "scientific excellence in sport science is based on disciplinary competence embedded in the understanding that its essence lies in its multi- a...
Article
Full-text available
A number of influential theories of skill acquisition posit that the performing body is an absent presence during “habitualized” action. The current article counters this claim by drawing on a wide range of empirical and phenomenological evidence to argue that the body is never forgotten during skilled movement. We draw on Colombetti’s (2011) taxon...
Chapter
Full-text available
Article
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Empirical evidence demonstrates that performing artists are confronted by a variety of ‘bodily crises’ (e.g., injury, attrition of habits induced by ageing) over the course of their careers (Wainwright, Williams, & Turner, 2005). Such crises may present a serious threat to the embodied subject. Unfortunately, many prominent theories of skill acquis...
Article
Full-text available
Recent years have witnessed an upsurge of research interest in motor imagery (MI; sometimes known as mental practice) or the mental simulation of actions without any concomitant bodily movement. While numerous experimental studies have demonstrated the efficacy of MI in improving skilled performance in fields such as music, sport and medical surger...
Article
Abstract Recent years have witnessed an upsurge of research interest in motor imagery (MI; also called mental practice) or the mental simulation of actions without any concomitant bodily movement. Although MI is known to improve skilled performance in music, sport and medical surgery, few studies have investigated the extent to which it shares simi...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Kinaesthetic motor imagery (MI) is an extraordinary human cognitive capacity allowing individuals to simulate and experience actions without engaging in the physical movements involved. Research has demonstrated that MI enhances skilled-performance, and that actual and imagined actions share similar neural substrates. Jeannerod’s simulation theory...
Article
Full-text available
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 foc...
Article
In a recent paper (Toner & Moran, 2015), we argued that continued improvement among elite athletes requires alternation between external and internal foci of attention. In her commentary on this paper, Wulf (2015) claims that we have misunderstood the ‘attentional focus’ effect. Our rejoinder has three objectives. Firstly, we critically evaluate Wu...
Research
Full-text available
*Dr. Tadhg MacIntyre1, *Professor Judy Van Raalte2, *Professor Britt Brewer2, *Professor David Lavallee3, & *Professor Craig Mahoney4, *Professor Aidan Moran5, *Dr. Deirdre O’Shea6, & Hannah McCormack1 & Dr. Mark Campbell1 1PESS, University of Limerick 2 Psychology Dept., Springfield College 3 School of Sport, Stirling University 4University of the...
Article
Full-text available
Dreyfus and Dreyfus’ (1986) influential phenomenological analysis of skill acquisition proposes that expert performance is guided by non-cognitive responses which are fast, effortless and apparently intuitive in nature. Although this model has been criticised (e.g., by Breivik Journal of Philosophy of Sport, 34, 116–134 2007, Journal of the Philoso...
Article
Full-text available
For over a century, psychologists have investigated the mental processes of expert performers - people who display exceptional knowledge and/or skills in specific fields of human achievement. Since the 1960s, expertise researchers have made considerable progress in understanding the cognitive and neural mechanisms that underlie such exceptional per...
Article
Full-text available
Objectives There has been considerable inconsistency and confusion in the definition of elite/expert athletes in sport psychology research, which has implications for studies conducted in this area and for the field as a whole. This study aimed to: (i) critically evaluate the ways in which recent research in sport psychology has defined elite/exper...
Article
Objectives Traditional theories of motor learning (e.g., Fitts & Posner, 1967), along with certain contemporary psychological perspectives (e.g., Weiss & Reber, 2012; Wulf, 2013), postulate that expert performers must relinquish paying conscious attention to, and/or attempting to exert control over, their bodily movements in order to achieve optima...
Article
Full-text available
A key postulate of traditional theories of motor skill-learning (e.g., Fitts and Posner, 1967; Shiffrin and Schneider, 1977) is that expert performance is largely automatic in nature and tends to deteriorate when the performer "reinvests" in, or attempts to exert conscious control over, proceduralized movements (Masters and Maxwell, 2008). This pos...
Chapter
Full-text available
Introduction As Chapter 1 has shown, considerable disagreement exists about the boundaries between the fields of sport, exercise, and performance psychology (SEPP). Given this background of uncertainty, the present chapter will focus on establishing some common ground between these disciplines. More precisely, it will investigate Irish and internat...
Article
Full-text available
Gaze patterns and verbal reports of golfers at three skill levels (professional, elite amateur and club) were recorded as they read the slope of a virtual golf green from six different positions. The results showed that the professional golfers used a more economical gaze pattern consisting of fewer fixations of longer duration than the amateur and...
Article
This chapter aims to provide a state-of-the-art review of the application of mental imagery and mental practice (or motor imagery) within surgical contexts. We first explain the terms mental imagery (a form of cognitive simulation) and mental practice (or the covert rehearsal of an action in one's imagination without executing the actual movements...
Article
Full-text available
St Patrick’s Day, 17 March, is the Irish national holiday and is celebrated with equal enthusiasm in Dublin, Belfast, Birmingham, Glasgow, Liverpool and London. The Irish connection to Britain is well founded as it is based on our geographical proximity and complex political relationship over the centuries. As we celebrate the feast day of our patr...
Article
Full-text available
Mental imagery is a popular cognitive simulation technique defined as “a symbolic sensory experience that may occur in any sensory mode” (Hardy et al., 1996, p.28). One of its key applications is in mental practice (also known as ‘motor imagery’) or the systematic use of mental imagery to rehearse skills covertly, without executing the movements in...
Article
In a body of research spanning three decades, Janet Starkes and her colleagues have produced a wealth of empirical evidence on the importance of deliberate practice in the development of elite performers. Within this corpus of work, a number of studies have alluded to the important role that self-focused attention plays in helping skilled athletes...
Article
Full-text available
Mental imagery is a popular cognitive simulation technique defined as “a symbolic sensory experience that may occur in any sensory mode” (Hardy et al., 1996, p.28). One of its key applications is in mental practice (also known as ‘motor imagery’) or the systematic use of mental imagery to rehearse skills covertly, without executing the movements in...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Psychology has undoubtedly gained a greater foothold in society in recent years, a status which holds as many benefits as risks. The potential to exploit the increased interest by both the public and the media in seeking a psychological perspective has obvious benefits for our advocacy role. Evaluation of this public engagement strategy should also...