Professor Bruce Abernethy

Executive Director, UQ 2032 Games E

Office of the Vice-Chancellor
+61 7 336 57969


Professor Abernethy is a first class Honours graduate and university medallist from the University of Queensland, a PhD graduate from the University of Otago, an International Fellow of the American Academy of Kinesiology and Physical Education, a Fellow of the Australian Sports Medicine Federation and a Fellow of Exercise and Sport Science Australia. He was the Executive Dean of the Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences from 2014-2023 and is now Executive Director of UQ's Engagement with the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Professor Abernethy is a previous Deputy Executive Dean and Associate Dean (Research) within the Faculty of Health Sciences (2011 - 2013), Head of the School of Human Movement Studies (from 1991-2003) and from 2004 to mid-2011 was the Director and inaugural Chair Professor of the Institute of Human Performance at the University of Hong Kong.

His research interest is in the control and acquisition of skilled movement, with a particular focus upon understanding the processes underpinning the expert perception and production of patterns of human movement. The work is interdisciplinary and spans human movement and sport science, experimental psychology, neuroscience and medical and health sciences. Prof. Abernethy's research work has been supported by a range of agencies including those funding basic science, such as the Australian Research Council and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong, as well as those supporting more applied research, such as the Australian Sports Commission, the Australian Football League, the Australian Cricket Board, Worksafe Australia and the Motor Accident Insurance Commission.


  • Australian Sports Medicine Federation, Australian Sports Medicine Federation
  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Otago
  • Bachelor (Honours), The University of Queensland
  • Bachelor, The University of Queensland


View all Publications



Book Chapter

  • Abernethy, Bruce, Farrow, Damian and Mann, David L. (2018). Superior anticipation. The Cambridge handbook of expertise and expert performance. (pp. 677-695) edited by K. Anders Ericsson, Robert R. Hoffman , Aaron Kozbelt and A. Mark Williams. Cambridge, United Kingdom: Cambridge University Press. doi: 10.1017/9781316480748.035

  • Farrow, Damian and Abernethy, Bruce (2015). Expert anticipation and pattern perception. Routledge Handbook of Sport Expertise. (pp. 9-21) edited by Joseph Baker and Damian Farrow. London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9781315776675-2

  • Cote, Jean, Handcock, David J. and Abernethy, Bruce (2014). Nurturing talent in youth sports. Routledge companion to sport and exercise psychology: global perspectives and fundamental concepts. (pp. 22-33) edited by Athanasios G. Papaioannou and Dieter Hackfort. Hove, East Sussex, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Abernethy, B. (2013). Research: informed practice: are we nearly there yet?. Developing sport expertise: researchers and coaches put theory into practice. (pp. 249-255) edited by Damian Farrow, Joe Baker and Clare MacMahon. London, United Kingdom: Routledge. doi: 10.4324/9780203119914

  • Williams, Andrew Mark and Abernethy, Bruce (2012). Anticipation and decision-making: skills, methods and measures. Measurement in sport and exercise psychology. (pp. 191-202) edited by Gershon Tenenbaum, Robert C. Eklund and Akihito Kamata. Champaign, Ill., U.S.A.: Human Kinetics.

  • Abernethy, Bruce, Farrow, Damian, Gorman, Adam D. and Mann, David L. (2012). Anticipatory behavior and expert performance. Skill acquisition in sport: research, theory and practice. (pp. 287-305) edited by Nicola J. Hodges and A. Mark Williams. Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Abernethy, Bruce and Cote, Jean (2012). Expert perceptual and decision-making skills: effects of structured activities and play. Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning. (pp. 1235-1238) edited by Norbert M. Seel. New York, Dordrecht, Heidelberg, London: Springer. doi: 10.1007/978-1-4419-1428-6_1688

  • Côté, Jean, Murphy-Mills, Jennifer and Abernethy, Bruce (2012). The development of skill in sport. Skill acquisition in sport: research, theory and practice. (pp. 269-286) edited by Nicola J. Hodges and A. Mark Williams. Abingdon, Oxon, United Kingdom: Routledge.

  • Abernethy, Bruce and Masters, Rich S. W. (2011). Attention focus in sports. Encyclopedia of sports medicine. (pp. 125-127) edited by Lyle J. Micheli. Thousand Oaks, CA, United States: Sage. doi: 10.4135/9781412961165.n52

  • Yan, J. H., Abernethy, B. and Thomas, J. R. (2008). Developmental and biomechanical characteristics of motor skill learning. Routledge Handbook of Biomechanics and Human Movement Science. (pp. 565-580) edited by Hong, Y. and Bartlett, R.. New York NY United States: Routledge.

  • Abernethy, B. (2008). Introduction: Developing expertise in sport - how research can inform practice. Developing Sport Expertise: Researchers and Coaches Put Theory into Practice. (pp. 1-14) edited by Farrow, D., Baker, J. and MacMahon, C.. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

  • Abernethy, B., Masters, R. S. W. and Zachry, T. (2008). Using biomechanical feedback to enhance skill learning and performance. Routledge Handbook of Biomechanics and Human Movement Science. (pp. 581-593) edited by Hong, Y. and Bartlett, R.. New York NY United States: Routledge.

  • Abernethy, B., Maxwell, J. P., Masters, R. S. W., van der Kamp, J. and Jackson, R. C. (2007). Attentional processes in skill learning and expert performance. Handbook of Sport Psychology. (pp. 245-263) edited by Tenenbaum, G. and Eklund, R. C.. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9781118270011.ch11

  • Côté, J., Baker, J. and Abernethy, B. (2007). Practice and play in the development of sport expertise. Handbook of Sport Psychology. (pp. 184-202) edited by Tenenbaum, G. and Eklund, R. C.. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Abernethy, Bruce, Maxwell, Jonathan P., Jackson, Robin C. and Masters, Richard S. W. (2007). Skill in sport. Handbook of applied cognition. (pp. 333-359) edited by Francis T. Durso, Raymond S. Nickerson, Susan T. Dumais, Stephan Lewandowsky and Timothy J. Perfect. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9780470713181.ch13

  • Farrow, D. and Abernethy, B. (2007). Wahrnehmung von Expertinnen and Experten im Sport: Einige Kernfragen und -probleme. Psychologie der sportlichen Hoechstleistung. (pp. 71-92) edited by Hagemann, N., Tietjens, M. and Strauß, B.. Göttingen: Hogrefe.

  • Muller, Sean and Abernethy, Bruce (2006). Skill learning from an expertise perspective: issues and implications for practice and coaching in cricket. The Sport Psychologist's handbook: a guide for sport-specific performance enhancement. (pp. 245-261) edited by J. Dosil. Chichester, UK: John Wiley & Sons. doi: 10.1002/9780470713174.ch11

  • Abernethy, Bruce, Farrow, Damian and Berry, Jason (2003). Constraints and issues in the development of a general theory of expert perceptual-motor performance: A critique of the deliberate practice framework. Expert performance in sports: Advances in research on sport expertise. (pp. 349-369) edited by J. L. Starkes. Champaign, Illinois, USA: Human Kinetics.

  • Cote, J., Baker, J. and Abernethy, A.B. (2003). From play to practice: A developmental framework for the acquisition of expertise in team sports. Expert Performance in Sports: Advances in Research on Sport Expertise. (pp. 89-113) edited by J. L. Starkes and K. A. Ericsson. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

  • Abernethy, A.B. (2001). Acquisition of skill. Better Coaching: Advanced Coach's Manual. (pp. 161-170) edited by F.S. Pyke. Lower Mitcham, SA: Human Kinetics.

  • Abernethy, A.B. (2001). Attention. Handbook of Sport Psychology. (pp. 53-58) edited by R.N. Singer, H.A. Hausenblas and C.M. Janelle. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

  • Abernethy, A. B. (2001). Sports as expertise, psychology of. International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences. (pp. 14935-14938) edited by N. J. Smelser and P. B. Baltes. Oxford, UK: Pergamon. doi: 10.1016/b0-08-043076-7/01385-1

  • Imanaka, K. and Abernethy, A. B. (2000). Distance-location interference in movement reproduction: An interaction between conscious and unconscious processing?. Beyond dissociation: Interaction between dissociated implicit and explicit processing. (pp. 41-71) edited by Yves Rossetti and Antti Revonsuo. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

  • Hanna, A. J., Abernethy, A. B., Neal, R. J. and Burgess-Limerick, R. J. (2000). Triggers for the transition between human walking and running. Energetics of Human Activity. (pp. 124-164) edited by W.A. Sparrow. Champaign, Ill: Human Kinetics.

  • Abernethy, B., Summers, J. J. and Ford, S. (1998). Issues in the measurement of attention. Advancements in Sport and Exercise Psychology Measurement. (pp. 173-193) edited by Duda, J.L.. Morgantown, WV: FIT Press.

  • Imanaka, K., Abernethy, B. and Quek, J-J. (1998). The locus of distance location interaction in movement reproduction: Do we know any more 25 years on?. Motor control and human skill: A multi-disciplinary perspective. (pp. 29-55) edited by Piek, J.. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

  • Abernethy, B., Wann, J. P. and Parks, S. (1998). Training perceptual-motor skills for sport. Training in sport: Applying sport science. (pp. 1-68) edited by Elliott, B.C.. Chichester: Wiley.

  • Carson, R. G., Byblow, W. D. and Abernethy, B. (1995). Inherent and incidental constraints upon intentional switching between patterns of bimanual coordination. Studies in Perception and Action III. (pp. 41-44) edited by Bardy, B.G., Bootsma, R.J. and Guiard, Y.. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.

  • Abernethy, Bruce, Burgess-Limerick, Robin, Engstrom, Craig, Hanna, Alastair and Neal, Robert J. (1995). Temporal co-ordination of human gait. Motor control and sensory motor integration: Issues and directions. (pp. 171-196) edited by Denis J. Glencross and Jan Piek. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier.

  • Abernethy, B. (1994). Perceptual and decision-making skills of athletes - A neglected dimension for change. Change and the human dimension of physical activity. (pp. 1-12) Buffalo, New York: State University of New York.

  • Abernethy, B. (1994). The nature of expertise in sport. International perspectives on sport and exercise psychology. (pp. 57-68) edited by Sidonio Serpa, Jose Alves and Vitor Pataco. Morgantown, WV, United States: Fitness Information Technology.

  • Abernethy, B. (1993). Attention. Handbook of research on sport psychology. (pp. 127-170) edited by Singer, R.N., Murphey, M. and Tennant, L.K.. New York: Macmillan.

  • Abernethy, B., Thomas, K. T. and Thomas, J. R. (1993). Strategies for improving understanding of motor expertise. Cognitive issues in motor expertise. (pp. 317-356) edited by Starkes, J. L. and Allard, F.. Amsterdam: Elsevier.

  • Abernethy, B. (1992). Expertise in experimentation on human action. The creative side of experimentation: Personal perspectives of leading researchers in motor control, motor development and sport psychology. (pp. 203-225) edited by B. Abernethy. Champaign, IL, United States: Human Kinetics.

  • Abernethy, B. and Snyder Jr., C. W. (1992). Fundamentals of experimentation. The creative side of experimentation: Personal perspectives of leading researchers in motor control, motor development and sport psychology. (pp. 3-30) Chamapign, Ill: Human Kinetics.

  • Abernethy, B. and Sparrow, W. A. (1992). The rise and fall of dominant paradigms in motor behaviour research. Approaches to the study of motor control and learning. (pp. 3-45) Amsterdam: Elseveier.

  • Abernethy, B. and Burgess-Limerick, R. (1992). Visual support for the timing of skilled movements: A review. Approaches to the study of motor control and learning. (pp. 343-384) edited by Summers, J.J.. Amsterdam: North-Holland.

  • Abernethy, Bruce (1991). Acquiring motor skills. Better coaching: Advanced coach's manual. (pp. 69-98) edited by Frank S. Pyke. Belconnen, A.C.T, Australia: Australian Coaching Council.

  • Salmela, J. H. and Abernethy, B. (1991). Sport psychology in Australia. The world sport psychology sourcebook. (pp. 8-14) edited by Salmela, J.H.. Chamapign, Ill: Human Kinetics.

  • Abernethy, B. (1985). Cue usage in 'open' motor skills: A review of the available procedures. Motor memory and control: The Otago symposium. (pp. 110-122) edited by Russell, D.G. and Abernethy, B.. Dunedin, NZ: Human Performance Associates.

  • Abernethy, Bruce (1985). Introductory comments: Vision and motor skills. Motor memory and control: The Otago symposium. (pp. 94-94) edited by Russell, D. G. and Abernethy, B.. Dunedin, New Zealand: Human Performance Associates.

Journal Article

Conference Publication

Other Outputs

Grants (Administered at UQ)

PhD and MPhil Supervision

Completed Supervision