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Sports Psychology – Audience Effects

1. Audience Effects

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about the impact of an audience on athlete performance, focusing in particular on: (i) Norman Triplett, considered to be the first sports psychologist, who observed that cyclists riding together seemed to perform better; (ii) social facilitation theory, which proposes that individuals perform better when they are competing directly with others, as per Triplett’s observations; (iii) Robert Zajonc’s drive theory, which proposed that the presence of an audience increases arousal, which in turn increases performance; (iv) the potential for arousal to diminish performance, if the athlete does not deem themselves competent at the task.


In this course, Dr Matthew Slater (Staffordshire University) explores audience effects on athlete performance. In the first lecture, we think about the specific effects that the presence of an audience can have on athlete performance, including Triplett’s social facilitation theory and Zajonc’s drive theory. In the second lecture, we think about the positive impacts of a home advantage on the home team, the negative impacts that the home team’s advantage can have on the away team, as well as some potential hindrances playing an at home game can have on the home team’s performance. Next, we think about Zajonc and colleagues’ 1969 study, which explored social facilitation in cockroaches. In the fourth and final lecture, we think about strategies to improve team performance, focusing on inoculation and personal disclosure and mutual sharing (PDMS).


Dr Matthew Slater is associate professor in the School of Health, Science and Wellbeing at Staffordshire University. Dr Slater’s research interests include the social identity approach to leadership, team functioning and psychophysiological responses to stress. Some of Dr Slater’s recent publications include 'Cognitive appraisals and team performance under stress: A simulation study' (2020) and 'A brief mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) intervention: investigating the effects with recreational runners' (2020).

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APA style

Slater, M. (2022, May 03). Sports Psychology – Audience Effects - Audience Effects [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Slater, M. "Sports Psychology – Audience Effects – Audience Effects." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 03 May 2022,

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