Nonverbal Behavior in Soccer: The Influence of Dominant and Submissive Body Language on the Impression Formation and Expectancy of Success of Soccer Players

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
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  • 1 German Sport University Cologne
  • | 2 VU University Amsterdam
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In the present article, we investigate the effects of specific nonverbal behaviors signaling dominance and submissiveness on impression formation and outcome expectation in the soccer penalty kick situation. In Experiment 1, results indicated that penalty takers with dominant body language are perceived more positively by soccer goalkeepers and players and are expected to perform better than players with a submissive body language. This effect was similar for both video and point-light displays. Moreover, in contrast to previous studies, we found no effect of clothing (red vs. white) in the video condition. In Experiment 2, we used the implicit association test to demonstrate that dominant body language is implicitly associated with a positive soccer player schema whereas submissive body language is implicitly associated with a negative soccer player schema. The implications of our findings are discussed with reference to future implications for theory and research in the study of person perception in sport.

Philip Furley and Daniel Memmert are with Institute of Cognitive and Team / Racket Sport Research, German Sport University Cologne, Cologne, Germany. Matt Dicks is with the Faculty of Human Movement Sciences, VU University Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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