Purpose: The aim of the present study was to investigate whether personality traits (narcissism, perfectionistic strivings, or perfectionistic concerns) predict a change in performance outcome, mental effort, and kinematic processes from low to high pressure conditions in a fine motor skill task.
Methods: With institutional ethics approval, skilled male golfers (N=20; handicap ≤20) completed two personality questionnaires prior to performing a golf-putting task in a low, and high pressure condition. Conditions were identical, except the high pressure condition involved a monetary incentive, leaderboard, and a cover story offering opportunities for competition, reward, and social evaluation. Anxiety, mental effort, performance outcome, and two kinematic variables were measured.
Results: Cognitive anxiety significantly increased (P=.041, d=.41) between the low and high pressure condition, however, somatic anxiety (P=.060, d=.32) and heart rate (P=.127, d=.27) did not. Narcissism positively predicted putting performance change at 7ft only (P=.043). This finding suggests narcissism is effective at predicting improved putting performance change at 7ft. Mental effort was negatively correlated with narcissism (r=-.545, P=.008). No significant findings for performance process change were found. Both, perfectionistic strivings (P=.049) and perfectionistic concerns (P=.045) negatively predicted putting performance change at 5ft only. These findings suggest that both perfectionistic strivings, and perfectionistic concerns are effective at predicting reduced putting performance change at 5ft. Club head velocity at 7ft was positively correlated with perfectionistic strivings only (r =.403, P=.043), whereas only performance outcome at 5ft was negatively correlated with perfectionistic concerns (r = -.468, P=.022). No other significant findings were found.
Conclusions: Taken together, the findings of the present study suggest that performance under pressure may be positively or negatively influenced by personality traits, which might be explained by alternative distraction and self-focus theories of performance under pressure. It is recommended that future research should investigate additional kinematic variables to further explore process effects. Additionally, future research could potentially investigate a dispositional performance scale and consider the interaction of personality traits on predictive ability during performance under pressure.
Verner, D. and Akehurst, S. (2015). Predictive ability of narcissism and perfectionism on performance under pressure. University of Derby, Sport and Exercise Science
Background: In the sport and exercise domain there has been a plethora of incidents where high profile athletes appear to illicit ‘choking’ or ‘clutch’ performances under the influence of pressure. These differences in responses to pressure reinforce the need for research to investigate whether personality characteristics can regulate the anxiety-performance relationship.
This present article only provides an introductory context of what is yet to come and future articles will explore other areas of performance psychology in greater depth and detail. Enthused readers are also encouraged to contact the elite sport science team with all issues/queries as our team of experts are on hand to provide personalised sport science support encompassing a variety of disciplines that is designed to shape your route to the podium.
Our website is brand new, please do bookmark us, in the very near future this blog will be full of interesting, insightful blog posts containing updates, events, client activity, sport science information and articles on health, fitness, nutrition and sport performance.