A psychophysiological examination of the emotions-performance relationship

Electronic versions


  • Itzhak Zur


As anger is one of the most commonly experienced emotions in sport competition, this research project aimed to explore the effect of anger on physical activities of gross and fine muscular skill tasks, and to test the moderating roll of state-hope and self-efficacy in these relationships. Following Lazarus’s (1991, 2000a) framework, we examined the positive and negative impact that anger may have on a gross motor 2000m run task, and fine motor rifle-shooting and fencing tasks, in intermediate and highly trained performers. We proposed that anger would benefit the performance of a gross motor skill task regardless of the level of hope. We also hypothesised that, on the fine motor skill task, anger would have a negative effect on performance, but that this negative effect would be attenuated by hope/self-efficacy. We conducted three studies, Study 1 revealed that anger was associated with enhanced gross muscular performance, in addition anger was positively associated with better fine motor task performance. The results for the moderating effect of hope partially supported our hypothesis, the positive effect of state-anger was not moderated by state-hope in the gross motor skill performances as expected. Contrary to our hypothesis, state-hope did not attune the relationship between state-anger and the fine motor skill performance. No significant association between state-anger and shooting task performance was revealed in Study 2, furthermore, we did not identify any moderating influence of self-efficacy in the anger-performance relationship. In study 3 we conducted a novel, laboratory-based, single-case research experiment in order to test athletes’ fine motor task performance (i.e., a fencing flèche attack) under two emotional states: anger and neutral. As hypothesized, state-anger had a positive effect on response-time, and a negative effect on precision. In addition, state-anger was positively associated with greater muscle activity during a fencing attack. Results are discussed and future research directions are offered.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Lewis Hardy (Supervisor)
Award dateJan 2016