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Bartosz Gula and Markus Raab

In our comment on Koehler and Conley’s (2003) findings on the “hot hand” belief, we want to emphasize the different conclusions that can be drawn from their results by applying the concept of ecological rationality. The choice of environmental contexts and structures imposes constraints on possible interpretations of the results obtained. Differentiating between the cognitive and behavioral levels of the phenomenon seems analytically useful, particularly if practical recommendations to professionals are to be made. The implications of Koehler and Conley’s data, new evidence, and the relationship between the perceived streaks of players and their base rates are discussed with the aim of developing empirically founded recommendations to professionals in sports, especially in real game situations.

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Jörn Köppen and Markus Raab

Belief in streaks—known as a hot (or cold) hand in sports—is a common element in human decision making. In three video-based experiments, we investigated the belief–behavior relationship and how allocation decisions in volleyball are affected by the expertise of participants measured in years of experience. The participants watched video sequences of two volleyball players in which the base rates of these players were kept constant. In addition, one player showed a hot hand (or cold hand), which was manipulated by length and perfection. Results showed that participants of different expertise levels were sensitive to all kinds of streaks, allocated more/less balls to the hot/cold player and reported strong beliefs in the hot or the cold hand. Developing tactics can benefit from this line of research.

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Sylvain Laborde and Markus Raab

In decision-making research, one important aspect of real-life decisions has so far been neglected: the mood of the decision maker when generating options. The authors tested the use of the take-the-first (TTF) heuristic and extended the TTF model to understand how mood influences the option-generation process of individuals in two studies, the first using a between-subjects design (30 nonexperts, 30 near-experts, and 30 experts) and the second conceptually replicating the first using a within-subject design (30 nonexperts). Participants took part in an experimental option-generation task, with 31 three-dimensional videos of choices in team handball. Three moods were elicited: positive, neutral, and negative. The findings (a) replicate previous results concerning TTF and (b) show that the option-generation process was associated with the physiological component of mood, supporting the neurovisceral integration model. The extension of TTF to processing emotional factors is an important step forward in explaining fast choices in real-life situations.

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Fabrice Dosseville, Sylvain Laborde and Markus Raab

We studied the influence of contextual factors and the referees’ own motor experience on the quality of their perceptual judgments. The theoretical framework combined the social cognition approach with the embodied cognition, and enabled us to determine whether judgments were biased or not by using a combination of contextual and internal factors. Sixty fully-qualified and aspiring judo referees were tested in a video-based decision-making task in which they had to decide when to stop the ground contact phase. The decision task differed depending on whether one contestant dominated the other or whether they were equal in the prior phase. Results indicated that the referees’ motor experience influenced perceptual judgments and interacted with contextual factors, enhancing the need for a combination of social and embodied cognition to explain biases in referees’ judgments. Practical considerations were discussed in this paper, such as, whether referees need recent motor experience and how this could influence rules of governing bodies for officiating.