Visual control during climbing: variability in practice fosters a proactive gaze pattern

Guillaume Hacques*, Matt Dicks, John Komar, Ludovic Seifert

*Corresponding author for this work

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In climbing, the visual system is confronted with a dual demand: controlling ongoing movement and searching for upcoming movement possibilities. The aims of the present research were: (i) to investigate the effect of different modes of practice on how learners deal with this dual demand; and (ii) to analyze the extent this effect may facilitate transfer of learning to a new climbing route. The effect of a constant practice, an imposed schedule of variations and a self-controlled schedule of variations on the gaze behaviors and the climbing fluency of novices were compared. Results showed that the constant practice group outperformed the imposed variability group on the training route and the three groups climbing fluency on the transfer route did not differ. Analyses of the gaze behaviors showed that the constant practice group used more online gaze control during the last session whereas the imposed variability group relied on a more proactive gaze control. This last gaze pattern was also used on the transfer route by the imposed variability group. Self-controlled variability group displayed more interindividual differences in gaze behaviors. These findings reflect that learning protocols induce different timing for gaze patterns that may differently facilitate adaptation to new climbing routes.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0269794
Number of pages23
JournalPLoS One
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2022


  • visual perception
  • exploration
  • affordances
  • learning
  • skill acquisition


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