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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter October 18, 2021

The effects of visual realism and visuospatial abilities on memorizing soccer tactics

  • Hatem Ben Mahfoudh EMAIL logo , Bachir Zoudji and Abdessamad Ait El Cadi



Dynamic visualizations have become valuable assets in acquiring and improving sports skills. However, their instructional efficiency depends on their design and on learners’ cognitive abilities. Intending to improve learning sessions using these technologies, this study investigates the effects of visual realism and visuospatial abilities (VSA) on the memorization of soccer scenes.


Twenty-four soccer beginners first performed a multitask VSA test followed by the memorization and reproduction of three dynamic sequences with different levels of realism. An eye-tracking system was used in the memorization phase to record gaze behavior and identify the involved cognitive processes.


Findings revealed that increasing visual realism disrupted learners’ memorization performance and visual processing. Moreover, learners with high-VSA were more efficient in memorizing soccer scenes than those with low-VSA and benefited more from reduced visual realism than low-VSA. Learners’ visual processing revealed that high-VSA were more focused on creating a mental representation of the content whereas low-VSA were rather visually guided when memorizing the scene.


Results imply considering learners’ VSA and adapting presentations’ visual realism to optimize tactical learning among beginners.

Corresponding author: Hatem Ben Mahfoudh, Université Polytechnique Hauts-de-France, EA 2445 – DeVisu – Laboratoire en Design Visuel et Urbain, F-59313, Valenciennes, France; and Université polytechnique des Hauts-de-France, Voirie Communale Université Val Mont Houy, 59300, Famars, France, Phone: +33 03 27 51 1234, E-mail:


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Received: 2021-04-16
Accepted: 2021-09-30
Published Online: 2021-10-18

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