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Title: I 'think', therefore I 'choke' : evidence towards adaptive and maladaptive processing styles in determining sports performance
Author: Sankaran, Sindhuja
ISNI:       0000 0004 2734 4700
Awarding Body: Cardiff University
Current Institution: Cardiff University
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis develops a model that predicts sports performance, particularly ‘choking under pressure’. The model describes a cognitive framework along with dispositional factors that might affect performance. The premise of the research is based on two quasi-experimental groups called Training Champions (TC) – those who perform better in training than competitions and Competition Champions (CC) – those who perform better in competitions than training. It was assumed that TC are more vulnerable to ‘choking under pressure’ than CC, based on the premise that TC have repetitive exposure to failure and CC have repetitive exposure to success. The thesis thus develops a model that could potentially explain why TC decline in performance and continue to do so and why CC improve their performance. The model comprises various stages which is included in respective experimental chapters. The first experimental chapter sets the stage for rest of the model by showing that certain information types – positive, negative and neutral would have difference effects on performance between TC and CC. The second experimental chapter throws light on the impact of various levels of ‘thinking’ traits like rumination, trait anxiety, maladaptive perfectionism and need for cognition. In other words higher levels of these traits would indicate a maladaptive nature, while lower levels of these traits would indicate an adaptive nature. It was predicted that TC would possess maladaptive traits and thereby engage in maladaptive information processing while CC would possess adaptive traits and would engage in an adaptive processing style. The third experimental chapter examined how TC and CC maintain such processing styles by studying the construct of perceived controllability. It was theorized that information processing would lead to perceiving future outcomes with certain levels of control. Hence it was predicted that TC would show perceived uncontrollability and CC would show an illusion of control over future outcomes. The fourth and fifth experimental chapters examined in detail the nature of maladaptive and adaptive processing styles by associating negativity biases with TC and positivity biases with CC. Finally, it was predicted that the reason why TC continue to engage in this style is because they are in a learned helplessness loop constantly reinforced due to repetitive failure, while CC are in a positive feedback loop reinforced by repetitive success.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology