An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 1987 meetings of the American Psychological Association. The authors are grateful for the helpful comments of Roy Baumeister and an anonymous reviewer on an earlier version of this paper, and for Paul J. Smith's statistical advice.
The “Championship Choke” Revisited: The Role of Fear of Acquiring a Negative Identity1
Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
Journal of Applied Social Psychology
Volume 19, Issue 12, pages 1019–1033, September 1989
How to Cite
Heaton, A. W. and Sigall, H. (1989), The “Championship Choke” Revisited: The Role of Fear of Acquiring a Negative Identity. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 19: 1019–1033. doi: 10.1111/j.1559-1816.1989.tb01236.x
- Issue online: 31 JUL 2006
- Version of Record online: 31 JUL 2006
The contribution of fear of failing to paradoxical performance decrements under pressure (choking) before a supportive, home team audience was explored. A further analysis of archival baseball data presented by Baumeister and Steinhilber (1984) was undertaken. Home teams that took the lead, and for whom achieving a positive identity was therefore salient, and home teams that fell behind, and for whom fear of acquiring a negative identity was salient, choked in the decisive seventh game of the World Series. Choking was reflected by both a relative inability of the home team to maintain a lead or overcome a deficit in game 7 and by increases in the rate at which fielding errors were committed by home teams which had taken the lead or fallen behind in game 7. The findings are interpreted in light of recent research on self-attention and self-presentation.