Meeting Abstract

60.5  Thursday, Jan. 6  Diving in soccer: When does it pay to be dishonest? DAVID, GK; WILSON, RS*; ORTIZ-BARRIENTOS, D; The University of Queensland; The University of Queensland; The University of Queensland

Deception is a highly controversial topic in animal communication. Many models attempt to explain how deceptive signalling persists in natural systems as an evolutionary stable strategy. We are examining models of signal unreliability in a novel animal system: footballers. In soccer, being fouled against or simulating a foul (diving) is a common strategy that can have a dramatic influence on the outcome of a game, an individual success, the quality of a game and its perceived fairness. A fouled player communicates a signal by falling which is received by the referee. The signal can be honest (i.e. the signaller fell due to contact by an opponent) or dishonest (a dive). If the referee responds, they must determine whether the signal was honest or dishonest and either award the foul or punish the dive. We analysed seasons of multiple professional soccer leagues and scored the number of fouls and dives, and the respective decision made by the referee. We will discuss our results in the context of the evolutionary maintenance of unreliable signals in animal communication.