The Importance of Sports

Sports are more than just fun and games. From schoolyard chants to Super Bowl championships, playful competition finds its way into nearly all aspects of culture. Fighting to win draws on cooperation, concentration, coordination, and creativity—things worth striving for in their own right.

Here we offer commentary on why we care who wins, what drives us to go for the goal, and what leads to greatness on the playing field, on the chess board, or in the office. On your marks!

Recent posts on Sport and Competition

Storming on Bastille Day

By Scott G. Eberle Ph.D. on July 25, 2016 in Play in Mind
Sometimes, we learn most when things go haywire.

What Yoga Style is Best for Your Health?

By Marlynn Wei M.D., J.D. on July 22, 2016 in Urban Survival
New study compares different styles of yoga to answer the question is one yoga style better than another. The answer will surprise you.
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For Athletic Success, You Pay Now or Pay Later

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on July 20, 2016 in The Power of Prime
You’re going to pay for what you do or do not do in your conditioning in one way or another. You can pay now with temporary fatigue and pain or you can pay later in lasting regret.

Epigenetic Mechanism in the Cerebellum Drives Motor Learning

New research pinpoints how we learn new motor skills such as riding a bicycle, playing the piano, driving a car, etc.

Acceptance and Transformation

Should left-handers demand that half the baseball diamond be reversed?

Play Foul and Fair

By Scott G. Eberle Ph.D. on July 14, 2016 in Play in Mind
Rule breakers come in three varieties: the cheater, the spoilsport, and the game changer. We despise the first, we puzzle over the second, and usually, we admire the third.

Is Pokémon GO a Virtual Drug?

Is Pokémon GO a revolution or passing fad? Does its form of augmented reality offer new opportunity for therapeutic benefits or are risks like addiction and recklessness too great?

Want to Build Strength and Gain Muscle? Lift Lighter Weights

If you want to gain physical strength and build muscle—lifting lighter weights can be just as effective as lifting heavy weights, according to a new study.
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Strengthen Your Confidence Muscle Like a Champion

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on July 11, 2016 in The Power of Prime
Confidence is the most important mental muscle because you may have all of the ability to perform your best, if you don’t believe in that ability, you won’t use that ability.

Who's More Likely to Try to Cheat Their Way to the Top?

The dark side of getting ahead involves cheating and sabotaging others. Lab research comparing the two sexes finds the dark side is more likely to be inhabited by men.

One Motivational Technique Really Works (And It's Easy!)

A massive new study has pinpointed the most effective motivational technique for improving performance—and it’s incredibly easy.

Superfluidity: The Science and Psychology of Optimizing Flow

Have you ever had a 'flow' experience that felt as if you were "standing outside yourself"? The science and psychology of 'superfluidity' help to explain the highest tier of flow.

No More Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polkadot Bikinis

Why one group of teens won't be wearing any teenie weenie bikinis this year

Tourist Psychology

By Kirby Farrell Ph.D. on June 26, 2016 in A Swim in Denial
In the prison of habit the tourist dreams of mind-blowing abandon

The Power of Imagery

By Clifford N Lazarus Ph.D. on June 25, 2016 in Think Well
While the power of positive thinking is great, the power of positive imagery is often greater. Here are two of the most effective visualization techniques.

Skilled Performance Takes More Than Practice

By Art Markman Ph.D. on June 23, 2016 in Ulterior Motives
There has been a big debate in psychology about whether elite performance reflects talents or skills. A new meta-analysis helps to resolve this question.

The Naturalistic Fallacy Fallacy (Part I)

While it's true that "is doesn't imply ought," it's dangerous and stupid to ignore human nature.
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How Athletes Can Take Risks That Pay Off

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on June 22, 2016 in The Power of Prime
It never feels like the right time to take risks in sports because there are risks to taking risks, primarily that of failure. Yet, only by taking risks can athletes find success.

LeBron James: Victorious in Cleveland at Last!

If there’s such a thing as a city's "psyche,” then Cleveland’s just got a boost even greater than their beloved/hated LeBron's returning to Cleveland from South Beach in 2014.

Draymond vs The King

Aggression among apes involves a conspicuous target.
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Take Risks for Athletic Success

By Jim Taylor Ph.D. on June 15, 2016 in The Power of Prime
Risk taking means pushing your limits, getting out of your comfort zone, and confronting failure, so that, when the risk pays off, you will experience sports success.

Don’t Ignore Kids Who Aren’t Star Athletes

Sport stars usually get lots of attention from their parents. But all children and adolescents need parental attention, love, and support―regardless of their ability.

14 Career Options for Psychology Majors

There are thousands of psychology-related jobs everywhere, but these are the most common positions companies look for.

The Neuroscience of Planning and Navigating Your Daily Life

Stanford researchers have identified how the human brain navigates daily life.

What Is Wisdom? "Wise Reasoning" Has Three Specific Facets

Two recent studies on wisdom help to pinpoint various factors that have historically made legends—such as Muhammad Ali—seem wise to people of all generations.

7 Myths About Concussions

Despite ongoing controversies over head injuries in athletes, misconceptions regarding concussions persist–which can prevent players from getting appropriate treatment.

Psyche of a Gymnast

By Laura M Miele Ph.D. on June 08, 2016 in The Whole Athlete
How can gymnasts who hit mental roadblocks overcome their fear and performance anxiety?

Popular Sociopathways

By Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D. on June 08, 2016 in Ambigamy
Some of us act like life is war, no room for negotiation, as if we won't survive unless we compete as aggressively as possible. How do we get like this? And could it happen to you?

Don't Say Cheese: Harbaugh Photo Ops

By Billi Gordon Ph.D. on June 06, 2016 in Obesely Speaking
Understanding the NCAA, Harbaugh, satellite camps, and football recruiting at the D1 level.

Infinite Perfectability

By Bernard L. De Koven on June 06, 2016 in On Having Fun
"A game is the voluntary acceptance of rules that require you do do something inefficiently." - Bernard Suits