Scientists at Royal Holloway, University of London, will investigate how cricket players' ability to play shots changes over the course of a lifetime in a new study into eye movements and skill learning.
Using sophisticated camera technology to monitor where participants look, researchers will use a computer task to assess how long it takes for cricketers of different ages to learn to look in the right place at the right time.
Supported by the England and Wales Cricket Board, the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway is currently recruiting members of cricket clubs, aged 11 and over, to take part in the research. Scientists will also study the skill learning of volunteers who do not play cricket, as the study will give an insight into the different abilities of children and older people to carry out everyday tasks.
Professor Narender Ramnani, from the Department of Psychology at Royal Holloway, said: "This study should provide us with a fascinating insight into how cricketers' reactions differ depending on whether they are a child, are in the senior squad or are a veteran player. But in addition, the skills we will be examining are also extremely important for everyday tasks such as crossing the road and driving a car.
"Learning when and where to look is important for avoiding danger and we are interested in how these abilities change over the course of a lifetime, including whether older people are better than children at certain eye movement skills and the age at which children are able to learn these abilities quickly."
The findings of the study will be used to develop new techniques to support children's learning and to help older people retain skills essential to living independently and safely.
The research will also consider the impact that sports' training has on a person's skill learning ability and will seek to develop new ways to apply this to training sessions.