A-Level PE - Information Processing


Stages of Information Processing

- Information processing refers to the ways in which a performer is able to recieve information from the sporting environment, rationalise that information and decide what to do with it, before putting skills into action. Information processing has four main stages:

1. Input: the senses of sight, hearing, touch, balance and kinaesthesis are used to gather cues from the sporting environment. The performer uses their perception to interpret the information and judge which of the environmental cues are required and which can be disregarded. The cues are filtered into relevant and irrelevant by a process known as selective attention. The performer focuses on the relevant stimuli and ignores the relevant noise.

2. Decision making: a decision is made on what course of action to take. The memory system is engaged and previous experiences are reflected on. The relevant motor programme is retrieved and sent to the musclesin readiness to produce the skill.

3. Output: the skill is produced.

4. Feedback: the performer recieves information about the skill.

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Whiting's Information Processing Model

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- The environment contains all the information needed to perform a skill/action.

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- This is the information available to the performer. Some of this information will be relevant and some will be irrelevant. For example, a rugby player will have their team mates, opponents, ball, pitch markings, posts, refree, linesmen, crown and coach in their display.

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Receptor Systems

- We use the followings senses to recieve sensory information from the display:

  • vision
  • audition
  • proprioception: touch, kinaesthesis and balance
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Perceptual Mechanisms

- A judgement is made regarding the incoming information recieved by the sense organs. Perception includes the DCR process.

- Selective attention occurs, which means that the relevant information, such as the ball, opponents and team mates, is focused on, whereas the irrelevant informatio, such as the crowd, linesman, etc... is filtered out. Only the relevant information is acted upon while the irrelevant information is disregarded.

- Selective attention is important as it:

  • aids concerntration
  • improves reaction time
  • filters out any distractions
  • controls arousal levels
  • reduces the chance of information overload in the short-term memory
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Translatory Mechanisms

- Using the information from the perceptual mechanisms, a decision is the made on what action should be taken, with the help of previous experiences stored in the memory. The correct response is selected in the form of a motor programme - for example, select the motor programme for recieving a high ball.

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Effector Mechanisms

- Once the motor programme/plan of action is selected, impulses are sent to the relevant working muscles in order to carry out the movement. For example, impulses are sent to the quadriceps in the legs to prepare to jump for the ball and to the biceps in the arms to get ready to receive the ball.

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Muscular System

- The muscles recieve these impulses and are ready to jump and catch. For example, the biceps brachii recieve the impulse and begin to contract.

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Output Data

- The movement/action is performed, for example jumping to recieve the high ball.

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Feedback Data

- Once the motor programme has been put into action, information about the movement is recieved. This could be intrinsic feedback from within the performer using proprioception, fro example, knowing that I have caught the ball correctly as it 'feels' right in my muscles, knowing through touch that the ball is in my hands and feeling balanced as i have landed on two feet. Or it could be extrinsic feedback from an outside source, for example the coach shouts 'good jump, great catch' or the crowd cheers.

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