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The role of movement exaggeration in the anticipation of deceptive soccer penalty kicks


Nicholas J. Smeeton, Chelsea School, University of Brighton, Denton Road, Eastbourne, East Sussex, BN20 7SR, UK (e-mail:


Human movement containing deception about the true outcome is thought to be perceived differently compared to the non-deceptive version. Exaggeration in the movement is thought to change the perceiver's mode of functioning from an invariant to a cue-based mode. We tested these ideas by examining anticipation in skilled and less skilled soccer players while they viewed temporally occluded (−240 ms, −160 ms, −80 ms, 0 ms, +80 ms) deceptive, non-deceptive, and non-deceptive-exaggerated penalty kicks. Kinematic analyses were used to ascertain that the kicking actions differed across conditions. The accuracy of judging the direction of an opponent's kick as well as response confidence were recorded. Players were over confident when anticipating deceptive penalty kicks compared to non-deceptive kicks, suggesting a cue-based mode was used. Furthermore, there was a significant relationship between less skilled players’ confidence ratings and their accuracy 80 ms before ball-foot contact in the deceptive and non-deceptive-exaggerated conditions, but not the non-deceptive condition. Because both deceptive and non-deceptive-exaggerated kicks contained exaggeration, results suggest exaggerated movements in the kickers’ action at 80 ms before ball-foot contact explains why a cue-based mode prevails when anticipating deceptive kicks at this time point.