Although coordinated patterns of body movement can be used to communicate action intention, they can also be used to deceive. Often known as deceptive movements, these unpredictable patterns of body movement can give a competitive advantage to an attacker when trying to outwit a defender. In this particular study, we immersed novice and expert rugby players in an interactive virtual rugby environment to understand how the dynamics of deceptive body movement influence a defending player’s decisions about how and when to act. When asked to judge final running direction, expert players who were found to tune into prospective tau-based information specified in the dynamics of ‘honest’ movement signals (Centre of Mass), performed significantly better than novices who tuned into the dynamics of ‘deceptive’ movement signals (upper trunk yaw and out-foot placement) (p<.001). These findings were further corroborated in a second experiment where players were able to move as if to intercept or ‘tackle’ the virtual attacker. An analysis of action responses showed that experts waited significantly longer before initiating movement (p<.001). By waiting longer and picking up more information that would inform about future running direction these experts made significantly fewer errors (p<.05). In this paper we not only present a mathematical model that describes how deception in body-based movement is detected, but we also show how perceptual expertise is manifested in action expertise. We conclude that being able to tune into the ‘honest’ information specifying true running action intention gives a strong competitive advantage.
- Deceptive movement, informational invariants, tau-coupling, rugby