SportsFans

Psycologists often look to find patterns of behavior among similar people in similar circumstances. One such study is that of the psycological effect of sports teams and their fans.

In a study at Murry State University, Daniel L. Wann and Thomas J. Dolan tried to prove that fans that had a high association with their favorite team would be biassed in their evaluation of the past, preasent, and future preformances. Wann and Thomas’ study set out to prove that students at Murry State that had a high assosiation with their basketball team, when asked about their records in previous seasons would estimate more than actually were won. Also, if the students were asked about their predictions for the team in the present year, they would be a lot higher than they probably could acheive. Finally they would have them make predictions of their preformances of the future, and see if there was any pattern among those people. To accomplish this, Wann and Dolan used 106 sublects.

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Fourty four were male and sixty two were female, student volunteers, whom took part in the study for extra credit. At the time of this test the Murry State basketball team was first in their conference with a 4-1 record. The study consisted of a packet with many different questions in it that would help rate the people. The first page rated the persons identifiability with the team. It consisted of seven questions, each with a rating of 1 – 8 in association. The final two pages of the packet were the subjects assesment of the team. The subjects were asked questions like:how many games had the team won the previous year(The answer was 17); How many wins will they have this season (the answer to that ended up being 18); and how many wins do you see for the next season. The subjects then answered four self ratings on what they beleived was a) poor and outstanding, b) preforming well above or below expectations, c) bad or good teams, and d)teams with little or great ability.

The students then were asked how they beleive the current team would end the season (ie. NCAA Champ., Conf.

Winner, etc.), and asked to rate these possibilities. Wann and Dolan found that their Hypothesis was right and that sports fans that had a higher affiliation with the team, were more likely to padd the records of the team.

They found that students tended to think the team fared better in previous seasons, and their predictions for the preasent and future were extremely overblown. In an article later Wann follows that their evaluation not only was true for teams with winning programs, but also with teams that have losing records also. Wann preformed this study to contradict a report by Hirt and Rials that differed in oppinion from his original study and said it was a biassed evaluation. IN his second study, Wann found that the same effect was true for dedicated fans of a losing team. They tended to do the same as the other fans did.

Psycologists love to study the effects of certain things on people. not many have looked at the effect of sports on the fans. Though all people view things different ways, certain types of people, like those spectators with strong affiliation to a sport team, tend to have similar outlooks and bias on their preformance. “Works Cited” Wann, Daniel L and Thomas J Dolan (1994). Influence of Spectators’ Identification on Evaluation of the Past,Preasent,and Future Preformance of a Sports Team. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 78. 547-552 Wann, Daniel L. (1994).

Biased Evaluation of Highly Identified Sports Spectators: A Responce to Hirt and Ryalls. Perceptual and Motor Skill, 79. 105-106.

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