Further Examination of the Matching Law and Sports: A Description of Shot Selection in Professional Hockey
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Over the past decade researchers in behavior analysis and sports have begun to consider the role of the matching law in describing choice behavior and sports. To date choice behavior in baseball, basketball, and football has been examined. Hockey presents a situation in which reinforcement occurs at a much lower rate than the sports already studied. The purpose of this study was to examine the applicability of both the generalized and single-alternative matching equations to professional hockey by analyzing shot selection. Results indicate that the generalized matching equation described shot selection significantly better when hitting the net was used as the reinforcer. Additionally, results indicate that matching is not related to success at the team or individual level. Results also indicate similar findings when the single-alternative matching equation is applied with the exception of when each player is used as a data point in the team analyses.