A practical perspective on decision making influences in sports officiating

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MacMahon, Clare and Mildenhall, B (2012) A practical perspective on decision making influences in sports officiating. International Journal of Sports Science and Coaching, 7 (1). pp. 153-165. ISSN 1747-9541 (print) 2048-397X (online)


The objective of this article is to reflect on the sport science research findings related to decision making and decision-making errors in sports officials (judges, umpires, referees). Specifically, we reflect on the mechanisms that have been discussed as influential in leading to these errors, and the responses to these errors. We present the general view that officials are human information processors both vulnerable to, and in some cases benefitting from the limitations of their system. We advocate that most cases of errors are due to missing information and uncertainty pertaining to the judgment, and that rather than removing information, where possible, more certainty, and/or more information should be provided. This article also bridges the science with informal practices, highlighting the ways in which more certainty and information are naturally sought and provided in sports officiating.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/23158
DOI 10.1260/1747-9541.7.1.153
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > FOR Classification > 1702 Cognitive Science
Current > Division/Research > College of Sports and Exercise Science
Keywords ResPubID25820, basketball, decision-making, heuristics, information processing, referee bias, sports officiating, referees, umpires, umpiring, sports psychology, cognition, cognitive processing
Citations in Scopus 25 - View on Scopus
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