The Emotion of Sports Performance and Motivation

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The field of psychology is increasingly expanding and becoming incorporated into other fields of study. From the study of behavioral economics to the burgeoning field of media psychology (with its emphasis on the effects of advertising, especially on children), literally anything that can be thought of is a possible venue for the probing, empirical analysis of various strains of psychological theory. And why not? There are currently 54 different divisions of the American Psychological Association. Not all are actual theoretical perspectives posited by psychology—such as behaviorism or social psychology—some are merely fields of interest within which a psychological focus has been found to be academically useful, or clinically…show more content…
Those mechanisms run the gamut from reproductive instincts to psychic survival processes which, in the latter, take the form of play, games, and ultimately, sport. I recently watched an episode of a program on Animal Planet detailing the attempts of an animal biologist to get two orphaned lion cubs to hunt by using a rag doll version of a mammal of some kind as substitute prey. He would drag the doll around the yard and the cubs would chase after it and pounce in playful abandon. He then took a piece of meat and dragged it around the yard—when the cubs were good and hungry—in the same fashion in an attempt at operant conditioning that, hopefully, would transfer to the wild (the goal was to eventually release the cubs). Similarly, human beings play games that serve multiple functions which are equally necessitated by basic needs (in the case of the cubs, hunger and survival). For human beings those needs are as complex as the human mind itself and every bit as deserving of study—even if it is just a game. Martin Luther said, “Feelings come and feelings go, and feelings are deceiving…;” and feelings—emotions—are also supremely multifaceted, slippery, transient, and as predictable as they are unpredictable. Feelings register virtually instantly through our autonomic nervous system which includes virtually every major organ in the body and leads to everything from clenched jaws to hairs standing up on the back of your neck. In any sort of
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