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5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
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ScienceShot: 'Sinister Motion' May Bias Soccer Referees
8 July 2010 3:12 pm
World Cup referees may not care about which team wins, but they do care about the direction in which players are moving. Motion, it turns out, looks more ominous going from right to left than from left to right, at least to people raised reading left-to-right languages. (It's a twisted phenomenon that film directors and comic book artists exploit.) To find out if this phenomenon could bias soccer referees, researchers showed photos of potential fouls to 12 college soccer players. They found that players were 5% more likely to call a foul if the pictured player was moving (or stumbling) to the left rather than to the right. Thanks to the referee's diagonal system of covering the field—from the bottom left corner to the top right—they see right-to-left attacks much more often than they do left-to-right attacks. The partiality tends to favor whichever team is on the offense, the researchers report online this week in PLoS ONE. That because, in the penalty box, more fouls equal more penalty kicks—and thus more chances to score.
See more ScienceShots.