Peak Performance and the Perils of Retrospective Introspection

in Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology

Click name to view affiliation

Britton W. BrewerUniversity of Delaware

Search for other papers by Britton W. Brewer in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Judy L. Van RaalteSpringfield College

Search for other papers by Judy L. Van Raalte in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
,
Darwyn E. LinderArizona State University

Search for other papers by Darwyn E. Linder in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
, and
Nancy S. Van RaalteTufts University

Search for other papers by Nancy S. Van Raalte in
Current site
Google Scholar
PubMed
Close
Restricted access

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.

  • Collapse
  • Expand
All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 2445 763 158
Full Text Views 76 16 0
PDF Downloads 98 22 0