Cognitive Processing

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 259–268 | Cite as

The relationship between action anticipation and emotion recognition in athletes of open skill sports

  • Yu-Ling ShihEmail author
  • Chia-Yen Lin
Research Report


Action anticipation plays an important role in the successful performance of open skill sports, such as ball and combat sports. Evidence has shown that elite athletes of open sports excel in action anticipation. Most studies have targeted ball sports and agreed that information on body mechanics is one of the key determinants for successful action anticipation in open sports. However, less is known about combat sports, and whether facial emotions have an influence on athletes’ action anticipation skill. It has been suggested that the understanding of intention in combat sports relies heavily on emotional context. Based on this suggestion, the present study compared the action anticipation performances of taekwondo athletes, weightlifting athletes, and non-athletes and then correlated these with their performances of emotion recognition. This study primarily found that accurate action anticipation does not necessarily rely on the dynamic information of movement, and that action anticipation performance is correlated with that of emotion recognition in taekwondo athletes, but not in weightlifting athletes. Our results suggest that the recognition of facial emotions plays a role in the action prediction in such combat sports as taekwondo.


Taekwondo Facial expression Action prediction 



This work was supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology, Taiwan, under Grant NSC102-2420-H-028-001-MY2.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Marta Olivetti Belardinelli and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Sport PerformanceNational Taiwan University of SportTaichungTaiwan, ROC

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