Intellectualising the penalty

We can expect much more of this sort of thing over the next few weeks:

As the World Cup approaches, so does the recurring English nightmare of penalty shoot-outs. Fabio and the boys might do well to read a fantastic new study of penalty-taking carried out by some cognitive psychologists. The underlying aim of the study is work out whether or not the participants in a penalty  – penalty-taker and goalkeeper – behave rationally. The conclusion was – well, yes and no.

I’ll do my best to keep track of all such studies and articles as they arise.

In the meantime, two predictions: 1) Daniel Finkelstein will produce some form of compendium of such posts on the economics / intellectualising of the penalty; and 2) none of it will help when England go crashing out of the tournament amidst high and unrealistic expectations.


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Man of letters & numbers; also occasionally of action. Husband to NTW. Dad of three. Friendly geek.

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