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Sport Psychology Game Management, Context Effects, and Calibration: The Case of Yellow Cards in Soccer



95 – 109

Referees in German first-league soccer games do not award as many yellow cards in the beginning of a game as should be statistically expected. One explanation for this effect is the concept of game management (Mascarenhas, Collins, & Mortimer, 2002).Alternatively, the consistency model (Haubensak, 1992) explains the effect as a necessity of the judgment situation: Referees need to calibrate a judgment scale, and, to preserve degrees of freedom in that scale, they need to avoid extreme category judgments in the beginning (i.e., yellow cards). Experiment 1 shows that referees who judge scenes in the context of a game award fewer yellow cards than referees who see the same scenes in random order. Experiment 2 shows the combined influence of game management (by explicitly providing information about the game situation) and calibration (early vs. late scenes in the time course of a game). Theoretical implications for expert refereeing and referee training are discussed.

Authors: Christian Unkelbach, Daniel Memmert

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