The Effects of Psychological Momentum on Affordances

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


In sports, psychological momentum (PM) develops when athletes perceive they are moving toward or away from a desired outcome, such as the victory (Den Hartigh, Gernigon, Van Yperen, Marin & Van Geert, 2014). According to recent research, this perception elicits positive and negative changes in athletes’ psychological states (e.g., confidence, optimism), as well as their momentary abilities (e.g., Den Hartigh et al., 2014; Den Hartigh, Van Geert, Van Yperen, Cox, & Gernigon, 2016; IsoAhola & Dotson, 2014, 2016). Interestingly, abilities are a key ingredient of the concept of affordances, which are the action possibilities for organisms in their environment (Gibson, 1979). In this experimental study, we aimed to provide a first test of a possible link between PM and affordances. We examined whether athletes’ judgments of affordances vary with PM. We designed a golf course on which participants, after a training, were asked to place the ball at their maximum “puttable” distance from the hole. Next, participants played a golf putting match against an opponent, in which the first to take a lead of 5 points would win the match. They wore visual occlusion goggles to prevent them from seeing the actual result, and we manipulated the scoring pattern to induce positive (from -4 to +4 points) or negative PM (from +4 to -4 points). We then asked the participants again to indicate their maximum puttable distance from the hole. Results provided first evidence for a PM-affordances link: Relative to the baseline distance (100%), the judgment of the puttable distance corresponded to 113% during positive PM (95% CI = 97% to 130%) and to 83% (95% CI = 69% to 95%) during negative PM. Together, these results suggest that athletes’ affordances change when they experience positive or negative PM. This sheds a new light on the dynamics of perception-action processes and PM in sports.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventInternational Conference on Perception and Action - UMCG, Groningen, Netherlands
Duration: 3-Jul-20196-Jul-2019


ConferenceInternational Conference on Perception and Action
Abbreviated titleICPA
Internet address

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