AbstractAnticipation of left- compared to right-sided actions of an opponent seems to be more difficult. The present study aimed to investigate whether prediction accuracy and gaze behavior of left- vs. right-footed penalties differ from each other in a representative experimental setting. 29 participants (soccer goalkeepers, soccer players, non-soccer players) predicted shot direction (left/right) of left- and right-footed penalties from a goalkeeper's perspective. Stimuli were presented in life-size on a large screen (3.2 x 2.1 m) and occluded at ball contact. Participants had to perform a full-body movement towards the predicted shot direction. Accuracy was defined in terms of the correct re-sponse direction. Percentage of time of gaze was examined for five areas of interest (head, upper body, hip, supporting leg, shooting leg). A 2 (condition) x 3 (group) ANOVA for accuracy revealed a significant main effect for condition (F(1,27) = 5.3, p < .05), with higher accuracy for right- (M = 68%) compared to left-footed (M = 64%) penalties. All other main effects and interactions did not attain significance. A 2 (condition) x 3 (group) x 5 (area) ANOVA for gaze revealed a significant main effect for area (F(4,104) = 4.0, p < .05), showing the longest viewing time toward the shooting leg. All other main effects and interactions did not attain significance. The present results indicate higher accuracy for right- compared to left-footed penalties. However, gaze behavior did not differ between left- and right-footed penalties. It can be argued that information processing is different for left- vs. right-sided actions.
Acknowledgments: The research was funded by the German Research Foundation, International Research Training Group, IRTG 1901, "The Brain in Action"