• Applying the Generalized Matching Equation to Penalty Kick Selection During Elite Soccer Competition

      Hantula, Donald A.; Fisher, Amanda Guld; Dowdy, Arthur; Axelrod, Saul; Hineline, Philip Neil; Tincani, Matt (Temple University. Libraries, 2020)
      The Generalized Matching Equation (GME) has been utilized by many behavioral researchers as a model of operant choice, especially in elite sports. In this instance, the GME was used to analyze the penalty-kick selections (e.g., shoot right or shoot left) of nine elite international soccer players. The analysis of archival data from in-game decisions demonstrated the presence of matching across participants and within a naturalistic setting. Undermatching consistent with previous laboratory and non-laboratory research on the matching law was also observed. The GME accounted for a majority of variance in penalty-kick selection, with minimal bias in responding. The players’ choices did not demonstrate clear preferences for shooting at either side of the goal, but did expose trends in individual responding worth noting. While the results extend the research literature regarding the applicability of GME to professional sports, future research should investigate matching relationships through analyzing larger sample sizes, team-wide responses, and team outcomes.