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Sport Psychology Impact of Opponents’ Clothing and Body Language on Impression Formation and Outcome Expectations



The aim of this study was to examine the impact of a tennis player’s body language and clothing (general vs. sport-specific) on the impressions observers form of them. Forty male tennis players viewed videos of a target tennis player warming up. Each participant viewed the target player displaying one of four combinations of body language and clothing (positive body language/tennis-specific clothing; positive body language/general sportswear; negative body language/tennis-specific clothing; negative body language/general sportswear). After viewing the target player, participants rated their impressions of the model’s episodic states and dispositions and gave their perceptions of the likely outcome of a tennis match with the target player. Analyses of variance revealed that positive body language led to favorable episodic impressions and low outcome expectations. Analysis also indicated that clothing and body language had an interactive effect on dispositional judgments. The study supports the contention that nonverbal communication can influence sporting interactions.


Authors: Iain Greenlees, Richard Buscombe, Tim Holder, Matthew Rimmer

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