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Crowd Noise as a Cue in Referee Decisions Contributes to the Home Advantage

Christian Unkelbach and Daniel Memmert

The home advantage is one of the best established phenomena in sports (Courneya & Carron, 1992), and crowd noise has been suggested as one of its determinants (Nevill & Holder, 1999). However, the psychological processes that mediate crowd noise influence and its contribution to the home advantage are still unclear. We propose that crowd noise correlates with the criteria referees have to judge. As crowd noise is a valid cue, referee decisions are strongly influenced by crowd noise. Yet, when audiences are not impartial, a home advantage arises. Using soccer as an exemplar, we show the relevance of this influence in predicting outcomes of real games via a database analysis. Then we experimentally demonstrate the influence of crowd noise on referees’ yellow cards decisions in soccer. Finally, we discuss why the focus on referee decisions is useful, and how more experimental research could benefit investigations of the home advantage.

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Contextual and Personal Motor Experience Effects in Judo Referees’ Decisions

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.

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Sequential Effects in Important Referee Decisions: The Case of Penalties in Soccer

Henning Plessner and Tilmann Betsch

In a study on penalty decisions in soccer, 115 participants made decisions as referees for each of 20 videotaped scenes from an actual match. In three scenes, defenders committed potential fouls in their penalty area. The first two scenes involved the same team and the third scene occurred in the opposite penalty area. Consistent with the assumption that judges’ initial decisions have an impact on later decisions, we found a negative correlation between participants’ successive penalty decisions concerning the same team, and a positive correlation between successive penalty decisions concerning first one and then the opposing team.

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Using Mobile 360° Video as a Tool for Enhancing Sport Referee Performance: A Case Study

Ian Cunningham, Lionel Roche, and Duncan Mascarenhas

-based methods offer a computer-simulated decision scenario through three-dimensional video, which has been recently trialed to train football referees ( Gulec et al., 2019 ; van Biemen et al., 2023 ). Establishing better ways to utilize existing video-based technologies to not only develop referee decision

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The Influence of Referees’ Expertise, Gender, Motivation, and Time Constraints on Decisional Bias Against Women

Nicolas Souchon, Andrew G. Livingstone, and Gregory R. Maio

The influence of player gender on referees’ decision making was experimentally investigated. In Experiment 1, including 145 male handball referees, we investigated (a) the influence of referees’ level of expertise on their decisional biases against women and (b) the referees’ gender stereotypes. Results revealed that biases against women were powerful regardless of the referees’ level of expertise and that male referees’ stereotype toward female players tends to be negative. In Experiment 2, including 115 sport science students, we examined the influence of the participants’ gender, motivation to control bias, and time constraints on gender bias. Results indicated that participants’ gender had no impact on gender bias and that participants were able to reduce this bias in conditions in which they were motivated to control the bias.

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The Activity Profile of Elite Low-Kick Kickboxing Competition

Maamer Slimani, Helmi Chaabene, Bianca Miarka, and Karim Chamari


To determine the performance aspects (time–motion and technical-tactical analysis) of top-level low-kick kickboxers according to gender, weight category, combat round, and match outcome.


Seventy-two kickboxers (44 male, 28 female) were studied. Thirty-six bouts (male = 61, female = 41 rounds) were analyzed using a time–motion system. Time structure was classified into 3 phases: preparatory-activity time (PT), fighting time (FT), and stoppage time (ST).


Referee decisions caused an overall effort:pause ratio (E:P) of ~1:1.5, with a significant difference between weight categories (light and middleweights = 1:1.5, heavyweight = 1:1). This ratio was ~1:6 when high-intensity actions–to-pause activities were considered. Significant differences were also observed between rounds (all P < .001), with 1st-, 2nd-, and 3rd-round E:Ps of 1:1, 1:1.5, and ~1:2, respectively. The relative times of FT and PT, total attacking actions, upper-limb actions, number of technical actions performed on the head, and the number of high-intensity actions were higher in males than females (all P = .05). Males performed more jab-cross actions and fewer low kicks than females (P < .001). Males used upper-limb (63.4%) more than lower-limb techniques (36.6%), targeting the head (56.9%) more than the body/leg (43.1%), with no significant difference from females (P > .05). E:P was similar between winners and losers. However, the numbers of technical actions performed on the head, counterattack actions, jab-cross technique, and total punches were higher in winners than losers (all P < .05).


Training programs need to be adapted to the specific requirements of kickboxers’ weight categories and gender to develop the technical-tactical abilities that improve athletes’ chances of winning.

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“We React Less. We React Differently. We React Better”: A Case Study of a Mindfulness-Based Intervention for Olympic Referee Performance

Mattia Piffaretti and Benjamin Carr

psychologist to achieve this observable performance enhancement illustrated their similar understanding of this progression. Thus, throughout this paper, our use of the term referee “performance” refers to the accuracy of referee decision making as well as to their psychological states preceding their

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Indications of Referee Bias in Division I Women’s College Volleyball: Testing Expectancy Violations and Examining Nonverbal Communication

Andrew Dix

sports. Scholars in the referee bias literature like Russell et al. ( 2019 ) have claimed that referee decision-making and judgment standards in the field of play are concentrated on maintaining control of the sporting event with a lessened focus being placed on consistently identifying the on

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Reflecting on the Game: Situational Stressors, Stress Responses, and Coping in German Elite Volleyball Referees

Lisa-Marie Rückel, Benjamin Noël, André Jungen, Sebastian Brückner, Bernd Strauss, and Stefanie Klatt

situations and standards for referee decisions still need to be established ( Schweizer et al., 2013 ). As recent research by Kostrna and Tenenbaum ( 2021 ) showed, referees’ accuracy in decision making declined while being exposed to stressors. The officials perceive this form of refereeing on a continuum

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Does the Game Matter? Analyzing Sponsorship Effectiveness and Message Personalization in Sport Live Broadcasts

Elisa Herold and Christoph Breuer

play; end: Reception of the ball after goalkeeper-kick  Corner-kick Start: Ball out of play; end: Reception of the ball after corner-kick  Free-kick Start: Referee decision; end: Reception of the ball after free-kick  Throw-in Start: Ball out of play; end: Reception of the ball after throw-in  Foul