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Roger Feltman and Andrew J. Elliot

Recent research has revealed that a person or team wearing red is more likely to win a physical contest than a person or team wearing another color. In the present research, we examined whether red influences perceptions of relative dominance and threat in an imagined same-sex competitive context, and did so attending to the distinction between wearing red oneself and viewing red on an opponent. Results revealed a bidirectional effect: wearing red enhanced perceptions of one’s relative dominance and threat, and viewing an opponent in red enhanced perceptions of the opponent’s relative dominance and threat. These effects were observed across sex, and participants seemed unaware of the influence of red on their responses. Our findings lead to practical suggestions regarding the use of colored attire in sport contexts, and add to an emerging, provocative literature indicating that red has a subtle but important influence on psychological functioning.

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David E. Conroy, Andrew J. Elliot and Scott M. Hofer

Achievement goals in sport have traditionally been defined according to the definition of competence alone (i.e., mastery/task, performance/ego). Emerging research and theory from the academic domain indicates that the utility of the achievement goal construct can be enhanced when the valence (i.e., approach, avoidance) of goals is also considered in conjunction with the definition of competence. The present study was designed to evaluate the psychometric properties of scores for mastery-approach, mastery-avoidance, performance-approach, and performance-avoidance goals from a measure of achievement goals in sport. The a priori 2 × 2 model fit the data better than any of the plausible alternative models. In a series of longitudinal factorial invariance and latent growth curve analyses, scores for the four subscales exhibited structural invariance, and both differential and latent mean stability over a 21-day period. Achievement goal scores conformed to theoretical predictions regarding their relationship with fear-of-failure scores. The AGQ-S would be an appropriate instrument for future research using the 2 × 2 model of achievement goals in sport, particularly for experimental/intervention research on change processes associated with achievement goals.

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Andrew J. Elliot, Francois Cury, James W. Fryer and Pascal Huguet

The present experiment was designed to examine the mediational role of self-handicapping in the relationship between achievement goals and performance on a sport-based activity (i.e., a basketball dribbling task). The achievement goals of the trichotomous achievement goal framework were manipulated, behavioral and self-reported self-handicapping opportunities were provided, and performance attainment was assessed. Performance-avoidance goals led to worse performance and evoked higher levels of behavioral and self-reported self-handicapping than performance-approach and mastery goals. Both forms of self-handicapping were found to have independent mediational effects on decreased performance. Implications for the adoption of achievement goals and the use of self-handicapping strategies are discussed.