Goals in soccer games can be few and far between, which helps explain the delirious nature of most scoring celebrations. Some players yank off their jerseys or drop to their knees and glide across the turf in glee. They all often end up at the bottom of a pile of jubilant teammates.
Then there are the players who are presented with a goal-scoring opportunity and, for whatever reason, fail. When this happens, they all do the same thing: raise their hands and place them on their heads — apparently the universal gesture to signify, How in the world did I miss that?
The gesture signifies that “you know you messed up,” said Jessica Tracy, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia. “It’s going to tell others, ‘I get it and I’m sorry, therefore you don’t have to kick me out of the group, you don’t have to kill me.’”
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