Previous research has established that happy and sad moods can affect persistence and success on a cognitive task, with happiness leading to higher performance and self-efficacy. Two experiments examined whether happiness also produces increased performance on a physical task and tested whether self-efficacy mediated the results. When mood inductions covered the full range from happy to sad, mood did influence physical performance. However, evidence regarding self-efficacy was equivocal. Efficacy for the performed task was unaffected by mood, although it remained a good predictor of performance. Since mood did alter efficacy for a nonperformed but more familiar task, inconsistent efficacy results could reflect task differences. The findings offer prospects for the use of mood inductions in practical sporting situations.
Requests for reprints should be sent to David Kavanagh, Dept. of Psychology, University of Sydney, NSW 2006 Australia. Steven Hausfeld is now at the Office of Commonwealth Ombudsman, Canberra.