• Created by: z_mills1
  • Created on: 16-03-15 19:17


Personality is the sum of an individual's characteristics/traits which make them unique/behave in a certain way.

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Interactionist theories

Explanation of theory:

  • mixture of personality traits and the situation/environment
  • behaviour can alter in different situations
  • Lewin's formula -> B=f(PE) -> behaviour (B) is a function (f) of our personality traits (P) and the environment (E) we find ourselves in

Application of theory:

  • Theories suggest performers can be taught to alter their behaviour and improve performance
  • Coach identifies aspects of personality or behaviour to be changed
  • Creates situations/experiences to cause a change of behaviour eg teach aggressive player to be assertive and not to become over-aroused in front of a crowd  

Hollander's model:

  • Interactionist theory
  • Psychological core -> inner core of fairly permanent beliefs and values
  • Typical response -> middle layer represents usual response in a given situation
  • Role-related behaviour -> specific behaviour in a certain situation/behaviour alters to suit a situation - most changeable aspect of personality
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Other personality theories

Trait theories:

  • 'nature' approach
  • suggest we are born with inherited characteristics -> cause us to react in a similar way irrespective of situation
  • traits -> stable, enduring and consistent 

If concept of trait theories correct (strengths):

  • allow us to predict behaviour patterns in all situations 
  • able to identify potential peformers who could cope with pressure
  • potential leaders/captains could be identified


  • using traits is unreliable -> behaviour may alter from one situation to the next
  • no common traits that are required to perform at elite level

Social learning theory:

  • suggests behaviour is learned through mimicking/copying others i.e. role models
  • inherited factors do not influence personality -> repsonse cannot be predicted
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Personality as a predictor of performance


  • Personality traits linked to specific types of sports/characteristics of elite performance, eg calm under pressure/not aggressive
  • Used as part of talent identification programmes
  • Iceberg profile (Profile of mood states)
  • Linked into high levels of vigour 


  • No clear link between success/choice of sport and personality type 
  • Personality can change due to situation 
  • Research often contradicts each other  
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How to measure personality


  • fairly cheap and easy to produce/administer
  • fairly reliable and can be used almost anywhere
  • produces a considerable amount of data -> can be analysed
  • difficult for performers to self-assess
  • answers to please the researcher -> not true reflection
  • low validity


  • greater validity than questionnaires -> can uncover issues within individuals
  • lower reliability than questionnaires 
  • method depends on ability of interviewer to interpet answers
  • expensive and time-consuming


  • person is more likely to behave as they would naturally
  • expensive and time consuming
  • low validity -> difficult to intepret behaviour/pps behaviour affected by being watched
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Profile of Mood States

POMS measures:

  • Tension
  • Depression
  • Anger
  • Vigour
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion

Morgan compared successful and unsuccessful athletes on each of these moods:

  • successful athletes tend to score higher on anger and vigour, and lower on tension, depression, fatigue and confusion than unsuccessful athletes
  • unsuccessful athletes tend to score equally acrsoss all mood states
  • elite athletes score higher on positive moods/lower on negative
  • research is not applicable to all performers -> not all elite performers in every sport show an iceberg profile
  • results could suggest that rather than successful athletes having an iceberg profile, it could be that, by becoming successful, athletes acquire self conficence to devlop positive mood states
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Achievement motivation

  • states that within our personality we have a need to achieve and a need to avoid failure
  • the achievement motive is the need to overcome obstacles, to strive to do something difficult -> it is what urges a player to be the best 

need to achieve (nAch):

  • the motivation to succeed/ attain particular goals
  • show approach behaviours -> seek out competitive situations/not afraid to fail
  • concerned with standards of performance -> will do extra training
  • high nAch prefer tasks with 50% chance of success
  • low nAch prefer relatively certain outcomes (failure or success)
  • high nAch prefer to play than not

need to avoid failure (Naf):

  • the motivation to avoid failure
  • show avoidance behaviours -> avoid competitve situations/challenging tasks
  • tends to be preoccupied with failure
  • lacks task persistence
  • does not value feedback
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Incentive value and probability of success

Our behaviour depends on an evaluation of the situation -> in terms of likelihood of success (task difficulty) and the incentive value (the shame/pride felt following the result)

Interpreting success:

  • ego oriented -> success only occurs if they have beaten someone else/victory is everything
  • task oriented ->success is due to own efforts and abilities/dont't mind losing if they have played well
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