Published On: 27/10/2014|Categories: 2013–2017, Vol.35 (2014), Vol.35 (3)|


The present study examined the cognitive processes by which persons who are differently involved in the practice of sport judge the extent to which an aggressive act performed by a player during a match in handball could be condoned. Thirty professional handball players, 35 amateur handball players, and 48 non-sporting individuals indicated this “condonability” in 48 scenarios. The scenarios were all combinations of 5 factors: (a) the consequences of the aggression (the victim is injured and must leave the game or the victim is not injured), (b) the current score (the team is winning or the team is losing), (c) the time left to play (very little time or quite some time), (d) the context of the aggression (the aggressor has been the victim of a previous act of aggression or not), (e) the relative importance of the game (friendly match or competitive match or European match). For 62% of the participants, violently pushing an opponent was considered as practically never condonable. For 38% of the participants, this behaviour was sometimes condonable. Professional handball players (60%), more frequently than lay people (27%) or amateurs (34%), supported the view that pushing an opponent can sometimes be condonable. Different positions on moral judgment were observed according to the involvement in the practice of sport.

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