moderates the incidence of ironic errors during high-anxiety conditions. Individuals scoring relatively high in neuroticism made more ironic errors than those who were relatively low in neuroticism during football penalty shooting and dart throwing tasks. Finally, Gray, Orn, and Woodman ( 2017 ) revealed
Recep Gorgulu, Andrew Cooke, and Tim Woodman
Tim Woodman and Paul A. Davis
The role of repression in the incidence of ironic errors was investigated on a golf task. Coping styles of novice golfers were determined using measures of cognitive anxiety and physiological arousal. Following baseline putts, participants (n = 58) performed a competition putt with the opportunity to win UK£50 (approx. US$100). Before completing the competition putt participants were instructed to “land the ball on the target, but be particularly careful not to over-shoot the target.” The distance the ball traveled past the hole formed the measure of ironic effects. Probing of the coping style × condition interaction, F(2, 41) = 6.53, p < .005, revealed that only the repressors incurred a significant increase in ironic error for the competition putt. This suggests that the act of repressing anxiety has a detrimental performance effect.
Tim Woodman, Matthew Barlow, and Recep Gorgulu
We present two novel tests of Wegner’s (1994) theory of ironic processes of mental control using a hockey penalty-shooting task (Study 1) and a dart throwing task (Study 2). In Study 1 we aimed to address a significant limitation of ironic effects research in a performance setting by differentiating nonironic performance error from specifically ironic performance error. When instructed not to miss in a specific direction, anxious performers did so a significantly greater number of times; importantly, there was no difference in nonironic error, which provides the first specific support for Wegner’s theory in a performance setting. In Study 2, we present the first examination of the precision of ironic errors. When anxious, participants performed not only more ironically but also performed more precisely in the to-be-avoided zone than when they were not anxious. We discuss the results in the context of the importance of specific instructions in coaching environments.
Jeremy R. Dugdale and Robert C. Eklund
Two studies grounded in ironic-cognitive-processing theory were conducted to determine (a) whether ironic errors may be associated with efforts to exert mental control that typically occur in sport settings and (b) whether these potential ironic effects could be negated through the use of a task-relevant cue word to refocus one’s thoughts during suppression. Participants were asked to watch a videotape of a series of clips of Australian Rules Football players, coaches, and umpires. Study 1 revealed that participants were more aware of umpires when instructed not to pay attention to them. Contrary to expectations, however, ironic effects were not significantly magnified by the combination of high cognitive load and the instruction not to pay attention to the umpires. Results from Study 2 indicated that potential ironic effects could be negated when individuals were given a task-relevant cue word to focus on when suppressing unwanted or negative thoughts. Overall, support for ironic processing theory was found in Studies 1 and 2 in this investigation.
Rob Gray, Anders Orn, and Tim Woodman
in experts ( Wilson, Vine, & Wood, 2009 ). However, it is important to note that none of these studies included clearly defined ironic errors. Turning to ironic processes theory, Woodman, Barlow, and Gorgulu ( 2015 ) recently provided evidence of performance breakdowns under pressure consistent with
trying not to think about a specific word continually blurt it out during rapid-fire word-association tests. These same “ironic errors” are just as easy to evoke in real world settings. Therefore, instructions such as “whatever you do, don’t double-fault now,” “don’t drive the ball into the bunker or
Marcus Börjesson, Carolina Lundqvist, Henrik Gustafsson, and Paul Davis
.S. ( 2010 ). Activation/arousal control . In S.J. Hanrahan & M.B. Andersen (Eds.), Routledge handbook of applied sport psychology (pp. 471 – 480 ). New York, NY : Routledge . Woodman , T. , & Davis , P.A. ( 2008 ). The role of repression in the incidence of ironic errors . The Sport
Paul A. Davis, Louise Davis, Samuel Wills, Ralph Appleby, and Arne Nieuwenhuys
. Psychology of Sport and Exercise, 13 , 291 – 302 . doi:10.1016/j.psychsport.2011.11.011 10.1016/j.psychsport.2011.11.011 Woodman , T. , & Davis , P.A. ( 2008 ). The role of repression in the incidence of ironic errors . The Sport Psychologist, 22 , 183 – 196 . doi:10.1123/tsp.22.2.183 10
Kendra Nelson Ferguson, Craig Hall, and Alison Divine
ironic errors of performance: Task instruction matters . Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 41 ( 2 ), 82 – 95 . PubMed ID: 31027456 doi:10.1123/jsep.2018-0268 10.1123/jsep.2018-0268 Hall , C. , Mack , D. , Paivio , A. , & Hausenblas