Experts integrate explicit contextual priors and environmental information to improve anticipation efficiency.

The understanding of how experts integrate prior situation-specific information (i.e., contextual priors) with emergent visual information when performing dynamic and temporally constrained tasks is limited. We used a soccer-based anticipation task to examine the ability of expert and novice players to integrate prior information about an opponent’s action tendencies with unfolding environmental information such as opponent kinematics. We recorded gaze behaviors and ongoing expectations during task performance. Moreover, we assessed their final anticipatory judgments and perceived levels of cognitive effort invested. Explicit contextual priors biased the allocation of visual attention and shaped ongoing expectations in experts but not in novices. When the final action was congruent with the most likely action given the opponent’s action tendencies, the contextual priors enhanced the final judgments for both groups. For incongruent trials, the explicit priors had a negative impact on the final judgments of novices but not experts. We interpreted the data using a Bayesian framework to provide novel insights into how contextual priors and dynamic environmental information are combined when making decisions under time pressure. Moreover, we provide evidence that this integration is governed by the temporal relevance of the information at hand as well as the ability to infer this relevance. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)