The power of nonverbal behavior: Penalty-takers' body language influences impression formation and anticipation performance in goalkeepers in a simulated soccer penalty task

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Previous research showed that penalty-takers' body language affects the impressions goalkeepers form about them. Furthermore, it is often assumed that body language influences goalkeepers' performance. However, as yet, there is no empirical evidence that indicates whether this latter effect exists. The present research was aimed at (1) replicating and offering more insight in the initial impression formation effects (Experiment 1-3) and (2) providing evidence that signals of dominance and submissiveness affect participants' anticipation performance within a simulated soccer penalty task (Experiment 3). We report three experiments demonstrating that participants form more positive impressions and have less confidence in saving penalty kicks from dominant penalty-takers (or scoring against dominant goalkeepers, Experiment 1) than submissive penalty-takers (goalkeepers). However, we did not find evidence that participants' automatic associations with dominant and submissive players underlie these findings (Experiment 2). Finally, we demonstrate that anticipation of kick direction is influenced by penalty-takers' body language (Experiment 3). Participants performed worse in the simulated soccer penalty task against dominant than submissive penalty-takers. No mediation of impression formation was found.HighlightsPenalty-takers' body posture affects the impression formation process.Confidence in saving penalty kicks is affected by penalty-takers' body posture.Anticipation of kick direction in a penalty task is influenced by penalty-takers' body posture.

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