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Daniel Memmert and Philip Furley

Failures of awareness are common when attention is otherwise engaged. Such failures are prevalent in attention-demanding team sports, but surprisingly no studies have explored the inattentional blindness paradigm in complex sport game-related situations. The purpose of this paper is to explore the link between breadth of attention, inattentional blindness, and tactical decision-making in team ball sports. A series of studies revealed that inattentional blindness exists in the area of team ball sports (Experiment 1). More tactical instructions can lead to a narrower breadth of attention, which increases inattentional blindness, whereas fewer tactical instructions widen the breadth of attention in the area of team ball sports (Experiment 2). Further meaningful exogenous stimuli reduce inattentional blindness (Experiment 3). The results of all experiments are discussed in connection with consciousness and attention theories as well as creativity and training in team sports.

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Philip Furley and Geoffrey Schweizer

The goal of the present paper was to investigate whether soccer referees’ nonverbal behavior (NVB) differed based on the difficulty of their decisions and whether perceivers could detect these systematic variations. On the one hand, communicating confidence via NVB is emphasized in referee training. On the other hand, it seems feasible from a theoretical point of view that particularly following relatively difficult decisions referees have problems controlling their NVB. We conducted three experiments to investigate this question. Experiment 1 (N = 40) and Experiment 2 (N = 60) provided evidence that perceivers regard referees’ NVB as less confident following ambiguous decisions as compared with following unambiguous decisions. Experiment 3 (N = 58) suggested that perceivers were more likely to debate with the referee when referees nonverbally communicated less confidence. We discuss consequences for referee training.

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Philip Furley and Geoffrey Schweizer

The goal of the present research was to test whether score-related changes in opponents’ nonverbal behavior influence athletes’ confidence in beating their opponents. In an experiment, 40 participants who were experienced basketball players watched brief video clips depicting athletes’ nonverbal behavior. Video clips were not artificially created, but showed naturally occurring behavior. Participants indicated how confident they were in beating the presented athletes in a hypothetical scenario. Results indicated that participants’ confidence estimations were influenced by opponents’ score-related nonverbal behavior. Participants were less confident about beating a leading team and more confident about beating a trailing team, although they were unaware of the actual score during the depicted scenes. The present research is the first to show that in-game variations of naturally occurring nonverbal behavior can influence athletes’ confidence. This finding highlights the importance of research into nonverbal behavior in sports, particularly in relation to athletes’ confidence.

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Philip A. Furley and Daniel Memmert

The controlled attention theory of working memory capacity (WMC, Engle 2002) suggests that WMC represents a domain free limitation in the ability to control attention and is predictive of an individual’s capability of staying focused, avoiding distraction and impulsive errors. In the present paper we test the predictive power of WMC in computer-based sport decision-making tasks. Experiment 1 demonstrated that high-WMC athletes were better able at focusing their attention on tactical decision making while blocking out irrelevant auditory distraction. Experiment 2 showed that high-WMC athletes were more successful at adapting their tactical decision making according to the situation instead of relying on prepotent inappropriate decisions. The present results provide additional but also unique support for the controlled attention theory of WMC by demonstrating that WMC is predictive of controlling attention in complex settings among different modalities and highlight the importance of working memory in tactical decision making.

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Philip Furley, Matt Dicks and Daniel Memmert

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.

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Miguel-Ángel Gómez, Enrique Ortega Toro and Philip Furley

The aim of the current study was to analyze the temporal effects that unsportsmanlike fouls may have on basketball teams’ scoring performance under consideration of context-related variables. The authors analyzed 130 unsportsmanlike fouls from 362 elite basketball games (men’s and women’s Olympic Games, European and World Championships). The context-related variables studied were score-line, quality of opposition, timeout situation, minutes remaining, and player status. The data were analyzed with linear-regression models. The results showed that both teams (the team that made the foul and the opponent) had similar positive scoring performances during 1 and 3 ball possessions after the unsportsmanlike foul (short-term effect). However, 5 ball possessions after the foul (midterm effect), the team that made the foul had a scoring disadvantage (−0.96) and the opponent team an advantage (0.78). The context-related variable quality of opposition was significant only during 1 ball possession, with negative effects for the team that made the foul and positive effects for the opponent. The final outcome showed a positive effect for score-line when the unsportsmanlike foul was made (0.96) and for quality of opposition (0.64).