Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Healthy rivalry could boost sport and business performance

Date:
February 20, 2013
Source:
University of Exeter
Summary:
New research shows that people can recover from poor performance when rivals comment on their failures. The research shows that while criticism from team members sends individuals into downward performance spirals, external criticism can be a trigger that boosts performance as people try to prove the outsiders wrong.

The study assessed blindfolded participants throwing darts.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Exeter

New research shows that people can recover from poor performance when rivals comment on their failures. The research, to be published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, shows that while criticism from team members sends individuals into downward performance spirals, external criticism can be a trigger that boosts performance as people try to prove the outsiders wrong.

The research carried out by the University of Exeter, Amherst College and the University of Stirling offers a method of improving performance following setbacks and can be applied both in the workplace and in sport to avoid poor performance snowballing out of control.

Lead author Dr Tim Rees of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter said: "Careful management of performance following failure is of key importance in a range of areas such as sport and business. The study shows that simple, low cost, measures that exploit the effects of intergroup dynamics can reverse downward performance spirals by encouraging a 'them and us' mentality."

During the study blindfolded participants threw darts at a dartboard and then received poor performance feedback either from a university-affiliated researcher or from an external researcher from a rival university. Participants who received this feedback from a university-affiliated researcher seemed to believe it and enact it: if it was discouraging, they failed at the next attempt, but if it was encouraging, they improved. Receiving encouragement from a member of an external team following poor performance did not help individuals improve at their next attempt. Yet those who received the poor performance feedback from an outsider were motivated to recover from the poor performance in an attempt to prove them wrong.

"Downward performance spirals can be readily observed in every domain of human performance," said co-author Jessica Salvatore of Amherst College. "Our research shows that the 'us-versus-them' mindset isn't always a destructive force -- sometimes it can be the key to re-motivating yourself and turning your performance around."

Co-author Pete Coffee from the University of Stirling said: "The research not only highlights ways to improve performance but also demonstrates the positive and negative impact that encouragement and criticism from fellow group members can have. This work points to the need for people like sports coaches and business leaders to think carefully about the way they deliver performance-related feedback."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Exeter. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Tim Rees, Jessica Salvatore, Pete Coffee, S. Alexander Haslam, Anne Sargent, Tom Dobson. Reversing downward performance spirals. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 2013; 49 (3): 400 DOI: 10.1016/j.jesp.2012.12.013

Cite This Page:

University of Exeter. "Healthy rivalry could boost sport and business performance." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130220113859.htm>.
University of Exeter. (2013, February 20). Healthy rivalry could boost sport and business performance. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130220113859.htm
University of Exeter. "Healthy rivalry could boost sport and business performance." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130220113859.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

App Fights Jet Lag With The Power Of Math

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) Researchers at the University of Michigan have designed an app to fight jet lag by adjusting your body's light intake. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

Treatment Gaps Endangering Cops, Mentally Ill

AP (Apr. 10, 2014) As states slash funding for mental health services, police officers are interacting more than ever with people suffering from schizophrenia and other serious disorders of the mind. The consequences can be deadly. (April 10) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Teen Drinking Rates Linked To Alcohol Mentions In Pop Music

Newsy (Apr. 9, 2014) A University of Pittsburgh study found pop music that mentions alcohol is linked to higher drinking rates among teens. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins