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Three experiments were conducted to determine which remembered qualities of the peak performance state are robust and to investigate whether recall biases may affect accounts of peak experiences. In the first experiment, introductory psychology students rated psychological characteristics of their best, average, and worst sport performances. Focused attention and confidence were the qualities most strongly identified with peak performance. The second experiment replicated and extended these findings in a sample of intercollegiate cross-country runners and tennis players. In the third experiment, subjects (a) completed a pursuit rotor task; (b) were randomly assigned to receive success, failure, or no feedback; and (c) rated their psychological state during performance. Results indicated that the bogus performance feedback significantly affected ratings of psychological states experienced during performance. Subjects given success feedback perceived themselves as being more confident and focused on the task than subjects given failure feedback. Implications of these findings for research and practice are discussed.
B.W. Brewer is now with the Dept. of Psychology, Springfield College, Springfield, MA 01190. J.L. Van Raalte, too, is with the Dept. of Psychology at Springfield College. D.E. Linder is with the Dept. of Psychology at Arizona State, Tempe, AZ 85287. N.S. Van Raalte is now at 1255 E. University #1060, Tempe, AZ 85281.