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Empty stadiums brought less biased judgments

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In closed door matches, in addition to empty stands, the referees’ stress was reduced, which led to more impartial refereeing and domestic success.

The European First League football teams slowly returned to the field when the epidemic subsided, but at first they could only play with the doors closed in front of empty stands. These so-called ghost competitions gave researchers a unique opportunity to gain a brief insight into the psychology of referees’ work.

In the absence of fans, the results showed that referees who were repeatedly given yellow cards for penalties for home team misconduct significantly reduced stress and significantly reduced normal home achievement.

The research was published in the journal Frontiers in Sports and Active Living.

IllustrationSource: DPA Image-Alliance via AFP / RN Dedert

Scientists at the University of Salzburg analyzed in front of an audience of about 1,300 matches for the 2018-19 season and the 2019-20 season without fans. Analysis, for example, is based on the number of penalty cards awarded and the outcome of the match. It was clear that the judges judging ghost matches had more than once given yellow cards to offending home players, while the number of cards issued to foreign players did not differ between the two seasons.

We were also amazed at how the home teams got more yellow in goal-scoring matches than usual. He is a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Salzburg and is the lead author of the article. Michael Christian Leitner said.

The study also found that elite teams in Europe suffered significant defeats in their home matches, while winning more away matches when playing in front of empty stands.

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Statistics show that home teams have received more penalties regardless of the current situation, so the fact that the losing home team did not become more aggressive is not the reason for the spread of yellow cards.

In addition, the number of yellows given to non-sportsman-like behavior decreased in the domestic and guest categories.

IllustrationForres: DPA Picture-Alliance AFP / Image Alliance / Sven Simon / Anke Weilishmiller / Sven Simon

Leitner and co-author, Drs. While Fabio Richlan’s conclusion and other factors such as emotional support from the stands play an important role in domestic achievement, open matches may be the most important factor in the frequent success of referees’ careless bias. The natives.

“We would like to say that our work was not a general criticism of referees in various sports,” Leitner said. These days they are under incredible pressure and this job is terribly stressful. We are self-enthusiastic athletes and we sincerely appreciate the work of the referees.

Research studying the psychology of referring in the light of intellectual competition provides more insight into human behavior and its consequences. Numerous psychological studies and experiments have already shown how expectations from other people handle our decisions.

“From an evolutionary perspective, we humans are psychologically heavy animals, and their decisions strongly influence the environment, the situation, and the presence of other people,” Leitner explains. – So the human mind has weaknesses that lead us to obedient or biased decisions, and clarifying these weaknesses can help develop effective psychological interventions and precautions.

The authors suggest that virtual reality (VV) is a tool to help referees draw attention to the problem and develop strategies for overcoming stress. VV technology allows users to immerse themselves in the digital environment with a helmet attached to the head, and today it is beginning to become a popular and effective tool for training in a wide variety of areas. For example, VV has been used successfully in sports and military missions.

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IllustrationForus: DPA Picture-Alliance by AFP / Friso Gents

Can’t VV be used to prepare referees for sports in front of tens of thousands of spectators? Richlan asks. “With VV, we have a technology in place to help prepare judges in these challenging situations and to train them realistically and systematically for the task at hand.”

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