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Referees Gunning for Tall Players


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But Giessner, 35, and Dr. Niels van Quaquebeke, 32, two German scientists and researchers at the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University in the Netherlands, assert in a paper entitled “Height-Related Bias in Foul Calls,†published on the Web on Tuesday (and in the February edition of the subscription-only Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology) that soccer’s tall people usually got the short end of the stick in ambiguous situations when a referee calls a foul. Their research indicates that taller people are more likely to be perceived by referees (and fans) as foul perpetrators and their smaller opponents as the victims.

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The real point isn't that tall players are more likely to give fouls; it's that there is more evidence to show referees are influenced by natural biases.

It's a basic tenet of human psychology that when faced with a split-second decision in an ambiguous situation, the human mind cannot process critically and relies on mental shortcuts- our stereotypes, biases, even our moods affect our decisions.

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