Magazine article Psychology Today

You're Going Down

Magazine article Psychology Today

You're Going Down

Article excerpt

FROM PRE-FIGHT press conferences to pick-up basketball games, trash talk and competition go hand-in-hand. But do the verbal salvos have the intended effects on their targets? Do they distract and intimidate, or do they serve as motivation to outdo a taunting opponent? According to a paper in Organizational Behavior and Decision Processes, the answer may be "all of the above."

In one test of trash talk's influence, study participants were seated at computers and tasked with moving as many sliders to their designated spots as they could within two minutes. But first, participants were sent either a taunting chat message (such as "I'm smarter and faster than you") or a neutral one ("Let's see what happens") by an unseen "competitor." Researchers found that recipients of the negative messages performed better overall.

"Trash talking, or a mere aggressive turn of phrase, can trigger a rivalry instantly," says Jeremy Yip, an organizational behavior researcher at Georgetown University and co-author of the study. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.