• An Examination of Decision-Making Biases on Fourth Down in The National Football League

      Ross, Weller; Applied Health Sciences Program
      The recent developments in the field of sport analytics have given researchers the tools to examine an increasingly diverse set of topics within the world of sport in ways not previously possible (Alamar, 2013; Fry and Ohlmann, 2012). This study analyzes the decision-making processes of high level coaches under different contexts and then determines whether or not a specific subconscious psychological bias, known as the representativeness heuristic, caused the individual to make the choice they did. Past empirical research has examined people’s decisions in different contexts and, from those con- texts, made inferences about how those individuals made their decisions and what errors in their decision-making processes could have led to their suboptimal choices (Kahneman and Tversky, 1979; Kobberling and Wakker, 2005; Tom et al, 2007; Tversky and Kahneman, 1992). The representativeness heuristic explains that errors in people’s judgment occur because their mind places too much emphasis on the current situation (new information) and not enough on the original odds (prior information). Previous researchers have been unable to separate the new and prior components of people’s decision-making when studying real-world scenarios in a sport context (Carter and Machol, 1978; Carroll, Palmer, and Thorn, 1989; Carroll et al, 1989; Patel, 2012; Romer, 2006). This research is different than the previous related research in that we utilize statistical models to gauge how people weight different information when making high-pressure decisions in sport. We hypothesize that coaches are disproportionately weighting new information against prior information when making decisions, and thus, yielding to the representativeness heuristic. To test our hypothesis, we construct numerous Bayesian updating models to represent the impact of National Football League (NFL) coaches’ decision-making on the likelihood of winning games. Utilizing a Bayesian approach enables us to keep the new and prior odds of winning the game separate, and thus, keep the two components of the representativeness heuristic separate. Regression analysis is then used with both of the components to directly test for the representativeness heuristic in NFL coaches’ decision-making by estimating the effect each component has on the coaches’ decisions. These estimates form the basis of our hypothesis tests.
    • When the Beautiful Game Turns Ugly: A Study of Fan Experiences of Perceived Match Fixing in Soccer

      Lamberti, Adriano; Applied Health Sciences Program (Brock University, 2014-10-24)
      Limited academic attention has been given to the nexus between corruption in soccer and its impact on fandom. Consequently, the purpose of this qualitative study was to better understand the lived experiences of highly identified soccer fanatics living through this era of match fixing in the sport. Social networking site Twitter was utilized to recruit participants from three continents – Africa, Europe, and North America – based on submissions to the site in response to a perceived fix from a high-profile March, 2013 match. A total of 12 semi-structured interviews were conducted with highly identified soccer fans in accordance with Funk and James’ (2001) Psychological Continuum Model (PCM). Despite the majority of participants feeling skepticism about the purity of soccer today, half of the participants’ fandom remained unchanged in the face of perceived match fixing. Directions for future research and recommendations are considered and discussed.