NEGATIVE TALK TO OPPONENTS CAN CAUSE PERFORMANCE TO DROP
Mead, T. P., Drowatzky, J. N., & Hardin-Crosby, L. (2000). Positive and negative stimuli in relation to tennis players' reaction time. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 90, 236-240.
This study assessed whether positive and negative stimuli influenced tennis performance similar to positive and negative thought. Competitive tennis players' reaction time was measured to a TV image of a tennis ball rotating with topspin, sidespin, and backspin. Just before each image presentation, the statement "nice shot" or "bad shot" was presented visually and aurally as representative of positive and negative stimuli.
Reaction times were significantly slower for backspin. Reaction time was slowest for an aural negative stimulus and fastest for an aural positive stimulus.
Implication. Negative banter between players ("sledging"), that is, the presentation of aural negative statements during a contest, has the potential to slow an opponent's reaction time if the opponent attends to the statements.
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