Stepovers and signal detection: Response sensitivity and bias in the differentiation of genuine and deceptive football actions

The ability to differentiate genuine and deceptive actions was examined using a combination of spatial and temporal occlusion to examine sensitivity to lower body, upper body, and full body sources of visual information. High-skilled and low-skilled association football players judged whether a player genuinely intended to take the ball to the participant’s left or right or intended to step over the ball then take it in the other direction. Signal detection analysis was used to calculate measures of sensitivity (d′) in differentiating genuine and deceptive actions and bias (c) toward judging an action to be genuine or deceptive. Analysis revealed that high-skilled players had higher sensitivity than low-skilled players and this was consistent across all spatial occlusion conditions. Low-skilled players were more biased toward judging actions to be genuine. Receiver Operating Characteristic (ROC) curves revealed that accuracy on deceptive trials in the lower body and full body conditions most accurately classified participants as high-skilled or low-skilled. The results highlight the value of using signal detection analysis in studies of deceptive actions. They suggest that information from the lower body or upper body was sufficient for differentiating genuine and deceptive actions and that global information concurrently derived from these sources was not necessary to support the expert advantage.