Rabu, 02 Februari 2011

Faking a Foul in Sports

Do athletes ever fake being fouled by an opposing player in order to invoke a penalty against the opposition? Yes, according to researchers who study human behavior and game theory. Game theory predicts that in any venue, not just sports, dishonest behavior is likely to increase when the potential benefit to the dishonest individual is high and the risk of being caught and punished is low.

Apparently that's what happens in soccer. According to researchers, faked collisions (called “dives”) do not occur randomly over the entire field – they are most common near the goals, where a penalty kick can win or lose a game and where it is more difficult for the referee to judge the fall correctly by virtue of his/her position on the field.

Consistent with game theory, reducing dives in soccer might best be accomplished by ejecting players more often for allegedly taking a dive and by positioning referees closer to the goals.

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