He dies, he scores: Evidence that reminders of death motivate improved performance in basketball

Colin A. Zestcott, Uri Lifshin, Peter Helm, Jeff L Greenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This research applied insights from terror management theory (TMT; Greenberg, Pyszczynski, & Solomon, 1986) to the world of sport. According to TMT, self-esteem buffers against the potential for death anxiety. Because sport allows people to attain self-esteem, reminders of death may improve performance in sport. In Study 1, a mortality salience induction led to improved performance in a "one-on-one" basketball game. In Study 2, a subtle death prime led to higher scores on a basketball shooting task, which was associated with increased task-related self-esteem. These results may promote our understanding of sport and provide a novel potential way to improve athletic performance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)470-480
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Volume38
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - 2016

Fingerprint

Basketball
Self Concept
Sports
Athletic Performance
Buffers
Anxiety
Mortality
Research

Keywords

  • Mortality salience
  • Motivation
  • Self-esteem
  • Sport
  • Terror management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Applied Psychology

Cite this

He dies, he scores : Evidence that reminders of death motivate improved performance in basketball. / Zestcott, Colin A.; Lifshin, Uri; Helm, Peter; Greenberg, Jeff L.

In: Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, Vol. 38, No. 5, 2016, p. 470-480.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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