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Trash talk in a competitive setting: Impact on self-efficacy and affect


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Gershon Tenenbaum, Educational Psychology and Learning Systems, Florida State University, 3204G Stone Bld, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA. E-mail:


The effects of trash talk and competition outcome on self-efficacy and affect were examined in 40 Madden NFL 08 football video game players randomly assigned to two conditions: silence talk, where they played the first game in complete silence; and the second trash talking. Measures of self-efficacy, positive affect (PA), and negative affect (NA) were administered. Results revealed that players enforced to be silent in the first game instantaneously exhibited lower self-efficacy, lower PA, and higher NA than players permitted to talk in Game 1. However, players subsequently instructed to remain silent in the second game showed markedly decreased self-efficacy compared to players permitted to talk in Game 2. Results are interpreted in light of the social-cognitive-motivational theory.