I am very naive about cheating.
I have tried to bear in mind the wisdom contained in the advice that “rules do not bring about conformity, rather they bring about a different kind of non-conformity”.
A recent ABC Science article has drawn attention to a paper from October 2011 that has added to my interest in understanding cheating.
Gwendolyn David, Catriona Condon, Candice Bywater, Daniel Ortiz-Barrientos, and Robbie Wilson have written about deception in humans.
Data for their paper were drawn from ten televised matches from each of six professional soccer leagues.
Gwendolyn and her colleagues refer to Paul Morris and David Lewis’s (2010) paper, Tackling Diving: The Perception of Deceptive Intentions in Association Football (Soccer). (Both papers are cited in the Wikipedia page on Diving (football).)
Gwendolyn and her colleagues propose that:
Overall, our results do suggest that humans are more likely to deceive when the potential outcome is highly beneficial, thereby outweighing the potential cost. Or conversely, when the potential outcome is very costly relative to the potential benefit, it may deter the use of deception. Interestingly, deceivers did not appear to take into account the likelihood of receiving a benefit, as dive frequency increased towards the attacking goal despite the referees rewarding proportionally fewer dives in those pitch zones. This pattern suggests that the potential benefit to deceivers may be a stronger incentive to deceive than the potential cost as a deterrent. Furthermore, the absence of punishment of deceivers by referees may also encourage the use of deception by soccer players.
Much of my research into winning behaviours in football is focused on the discipline of teams. Soccer has intrigued me for a long time in this regard.
Many years ago before the advent of multiple camera perspectives and super slow motion replays, there was a debate about why professional players should seek to have an opponent sent off the field through feigning injury. In more recent times the discussion about simulation has attracted the attention of the media and FIFA law makers.
Paul Morris and David Lewis suggest “deceptive intentions … are to a degree manifest in behavior and are observable”. I wonder if the availability of a taxonomy of deceptive behaviours and video replay will act as an increasing deterrent to desperate players.
I hope so as my understanding of the spirit of a game is about the centrality of adherence to an objective code of behaviour. I take this to be the essence of integrity.