Perceptual-Cognitive Skill

What is Quiet Eye?

The “Quiet Eye” phenomenon. What is it?

Quiet eye refers to the duration of where a person looks prior to executing a motor skill. Specifically, it is the length of the final fixation to a specific target prior to initiating movement.

The duration of “quiet eye” differentiates elite to near-elite performers, with the elite performers typically displaying longer quiet eye periods. This phenomenon was discovered by Joan Vickers in 1996 when examining the gaze behaviour of basketball players.

Basketball shooting

Quiet eye = length of final fixation on the ring prior to movement initiation. Hence, successful shooting is characterised by a longer fixations to the ring prior to shooting. In basketball studies, quiet eye has been shown to differentiate between successful and unsuccessful shots.

Golf putting

Quiet eye = length of final fixation on the ball prior to movement initiation. In lay terms, successful putting has been characterised by ‘keeping the eyes down for longer’. Certainly this fits with the common coaching instruction of “don’t look up too quickly!”

To read more about quiet eye, see work by Mark Wilson or Sam Vine.

NOTE: Recently, quiet eye training was applied to fundamental movement skills.


Rienhoff, R., Tirp, J., Strauß, B., Baker, J., & Schorer, J. (2016). The ‘Quiet Eye’and Motor Performance: A Systematic Review Based on Newell’s Constraints-Led Model. Sports Medicine, 46(4), 589-603.
Vickers, J. N. (1996). Visual control when aiming at a far target. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 22(2), 342-354.


Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: