Marsden, K., Garske, J. P., & Ogles, B. M. (1994). Effects of feedback, gender, and explanatory style, on mood and performance in collegiate swimmers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 26(5), Supplement abstract 1114.

This study's main intention was to assess relationships between explanatory style (pessimism and optimism) and mood and performance. It used swimmers of both sexes as Ss and manipulated the accuracy of the feedback.

Ss performed their best events and were give false feedback (slower than the actual time) after the effort. Ss then rested 20-30 minutes and repeated the performance.

The second trial of the optimists was at least equal to the first whereas pessimists swam slower. Only feedback affected performance. There was no difference between the sexes or explanatory style.

Implication. False or worse-than-expected feedback demoralizes already negative swimmers after a hard effort. Positive (optimistic) individuals are somewhat unaffected by poor results when those results are contrary to their own experiences.

Sometimes coaches give false feedback to athletes in an attempt "to make them do better." However, that strategy seems to be too risky for it does not lead to improved performances but to either performance maintenance or deterioration. There appears to be little value in providing false feedback to athletes.

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