Bites, dives and dirty tackles: The science behind what drives a soccer player to break the rules | ESRC press coverage |

FIFA’s decision to hand Luis Suarez a four month ban for biting Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini has sealed Suarez’s place as the villain of World Cup 2014.

But where does this behaviour that we find to be so unsportsmanlike come from? Suarez is not the only culprit: diving, dirty tackles and other foul behaviour takes place on the pitch that leaves us wondering why players sometimes act this way. Sports psychology research shows that clearly there are some personal characteristics that predispose players to cheat, but the social environment also plays a key role.