How Embodied Cognitions Affect Judgments: Height-Related Attribution Bias in Football Foul Calls

42 Pages Posted: 26 Jan 2010

See all articles by Niels Van Quaquebeke

Niels Van Quaquebeke

Kühne Logistics University

S.R. Giessner

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM)

Date Written: January 2010 2,

Abstract

Many fouls committed in football (called soccer in some countries) are ambiguous, and there is no objective way of determining who is the “true” perpetrator or the “true” victim. Consequently, fans as well as referees often rely on a variety of decision cues when judging such foul situations. Based on embodiment research, which links perceptions of height to concepts of strength, power, and aggression, we argue that height is going to be one of the decision cues used. As a result, people are more likely to attribute a foul in an ambiguous tackle situation to the taller of two players. We find consistent support for our hypothesis, not only in field data spanning the last seven UEFA Champions League and German Bundesliga seasons, as well as the last three FIFA World Cups, but also in two experimental studies. The resulting dilemma for refereeing in practice is discussed.

Keywords: dominance, power, refereeing, decision making, decision cue, information processing

JEL Classification: M10, L2, M12, M

Suggested Citation

Van Quaquebeke, Niels and Giessner, Steffen R., How Embodied Cognitions Affect Judgments: Height-Related Attribution Bias in Football Foul Calls (January 2010 2,). ERIM Report Series Reference No. ERS-2010-006-ORG. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1542487

Niels Van Quaquebeke (Contact Author)

Kühne Logistics University ( email )

Großer Grasbrook 17
Hamburg, 20457
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.the-klu.org/quaquebeke/

Steffen R. Giessner

Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM) ( email )

P.O. Box 1738
3000 DR Rotterdam
Netherlands

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