The present study examined the relationship between self-generated emotions and physical performance. All participants took part in five emotion induction conditions (happiness, anger, anxiety, sadness, and an emotion-neutral state) and we investigated their influence on the force of the finger musculature (Experiment 1), the jump height of a counter-movement jump (Experiment 2), and the velocity of a thrown ball (Experiment 3). All experiments showed that participants could produce significantly better physical performances when recalling anger or happiness emotions in contrast to the emotion-neutral state. Experiments 1 and 2 also revealed that physical performance in the anger and the happiness conditions was significantly enhanced compared with the anxiety and the sadness conditions. Results are discussed in relation to the Lazarus (1991a, 2000a) cognitive-motivational-relational (CMR) theory framework.
Marco Rathschlag and Daniel Memmert are with the Institute of Cognitive and Team/Racket Sport Research, German Sport University, Cologne, Germany.