The impact of global and local context information on the processing of deceptive actions in game sports

Higher head-fake frequencies and head-fake repetitions reduce the size of the head-fake effect in basketball

Einfluss der globalen und lokalen Kontextinformationen auf die Verarbeitung von Täuschungshandlungen in Spielsportarten

Höhere Blicktäuschungshäufigkeiten und Wiederholungen vermindern den Blicktäuschungseffekt im Basketball


In basketball, the defender’s reaction to a pass is slower and more error prone if the attacking player gazes into the opposite direction. This so-called head-fake effect might be modulated by context information, that is, the frequency and the sequence of head fakes occurring. Accordingly, the present study investigates the head-fake effect for different frequency proportions (20% vs. 50% vs. 80%). The results show that the head-fake effect decreases when the head fake occurs more often. Furthermore, a potential influence of previous fake experience (i.e., congruency-sequence effect) on the size of the head-fake effect was investigated. Importantly, previous fake experience did not cause the frequency-based modulation of the general size of the head-fake effect. These findings bare important implications for sports practice, especially when it comes to instructing players about the tactical use of deceptive actions.


Im Basketball ist die Reaktion des Verteidigers auf einen Pass langsamer und stärker fehlerbehaftet, wenn der angreifende Spieler in die entgegengesetzte Richtung schaut. Dieser sogenannte Blicktäuschungseffekt („head-fake effect“) könnte durch Kontextinformationen moduliert werden, genauer durch die Häufigkeit und Sequenz von Blicktäuschungen. Daher wurde in der vorliegenden Studie der Blicktäuschungseffekt bei unterschiedlichen Häufigkeitsverhältnissen (20 % vs. 50 % vs. 80 %) untersucht. Im Ergebnis nahm der Effekt mit steigender Häufigkeit der Blicktäuschungen ab. Des Weiteren wurde der potenzielle Einfluss vorausgegangener Täuschungserfahrungen, das heißt der Kongruenz-Sequenz-Effekt, auf die Größe des Blicktäuschungseffekts untersucht. Im Wesentlichen verursachten frühere Täuschungserfahrungen nicht die häufigkeitsbasierte Modulation der allgemeinen Größe des Blicktäuschungseffekts. Diese Ergebnisse sollten bedeutende Auswirkungen auf die sportliche Praxis haben, insbesondere auf die Anleitung von Spielern bezüglich der taktischen Nutzung von Täuschungshandlungen.

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  1. 1.

    The instruction is identical with the one used in previous studies on the head-fake effect in basketball.

    (e.g., Weigelt et al., 2017; Kunde et al., 2011). It focuses on gaze direction (and not on head orientation), as gaze direction has been shown to be a special attentional cue, which triggers reflexive shifts of attention in an observer (Langton, Watt, & Bruce, 2000). Of course, both the head orientation and the gaze direction might be responsible for the head-fake effect.


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This work was supported by a grant of the German Research Foundation (DFG) awarded to the first author (GU 1683/1-1) and the third author (KU 1964/13-1) of the manuscript.

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Correspondence to Dr. Iris Güldenpenning.

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Conflict of interest

I. Güldenpenning, M. Alhaj Ahmad Alaboud, W. Kunde, and M. Weigelt declare that they have no competing interests.

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Caption Electronic Supplementary Material

Example of the stimulus material used in the study 1

Example of the stimulus material used in the study 2

Example of the stimulus material used in the study 1

Example of the stimulus material used in the study 2

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Güldenpenning, I., Alaboud, M.A.A., Kunde, W. et al. The impact of global and local context information on the processing of deceptive actions in game sports. Ger J Exerc Sport Res 48, 366–375 (2018) doi:10.1007/s12662-018-0493-4

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  • Deceptive action
  • Local context information
  • Global context information
  • Fake frequency
  • Congruency-sequence effect


  • Täuschungshandlung
  • Lokale Kontextinformationen
  • Globale Kontextinformationen
  • Täuschungsrate
  • Kongruenz-Sequenz-Effekt