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The impact of video speed on the decision-making process of sports officials

OPEN Cognitive research: principles and implications | 29 Jun 2018

J Spitz, P Moors, J Wagemans and WF Helsen
There is an increasing trend in association football (soccer) to assist referees in their decision-making with video technology. For decisions such as whether a goal has been scored or which player actually committed a foul, video technology can provide more objective information and be valuable to increase decisional accuracy. It is unclear, however, to what extent video replays can aid referee decisions in the case of foul-play situations in which the decision is typically more ambiguous. In this study, we specifically evaluated the impact of slow-motion replays on decision-making by referees. To this end, elite referees of five different countries (nā€‰=ā€‰88) evaluated 60 different foul-play situations taken from international matches, replayed in either real time or slow motion. Our results revealed that referees penalized situations more severely in slow motion compared to real time (e.g. red card with a yellow card reference decision). Our results provide initial evidence that video replay speed can have an important impact on the disciplinary decision given by the referee in case of foul play. The study also provides a real-life test-case for theories and insights regarding causality perception.
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