Explicit and implicit affiliation motives predict verbal and nonverbal social behavior in sports competition

Wegner, Mirko; Bohnacker, Vincent; Memple, Gordon; Teubel, Thomas; Schüler, Julia (2014). Explicit and implicit affiliation motives predict verbal and nonverbal social behavior in sports competition. Psychology of sport and exercise, 15(6), pp. 588-595. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.psychsport.2014.06.001

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The present study investigated the predictive value of the explicit and implicit affiliation motive for social behavior in sport competitions. From an information processing perspective, an explicit motive is linked to verbal cues and respondent behavior. The implicit motive in turn is linked to nonverbal stimuli and operant behavior (McClelland, Koestner, & Weinberger, 1989; Schultheiss, 2008). Both respondent affiliative behavior (e.g., verbal interactions with teammates) and operant nonverbal social behavior (e.g., pleasant to opponents) can be observed in racquet sports team competitions.

Design & Methods
Fifty-two male racquet sportsmen completed the Personality Research Form (explicit affiliation motive) and the Operant Motive Test (implicit affiliation motive). Motive measures were used to predict social behavior during competitions using multiple regression analyses. To this aim real competitive matches were videotaped and analyzed.

Results show that the explicit affiliation motive is associated with time spent in verbal team contact. The implicit affiliation motive, by contrast, is linked to pleasant nonverbal behavior shown toward opponents.

Findings suggest that implicit and explicit affiliation motives predict different kinds of social behavior in sports competition respectively. Indirect motive measures may be of additional predictive value for different behavior in real sports settings.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW)
07 Faculty of Human Sciences > Institute of Sport Science (ISPW) > Sport Psychology and Research Methods

UniBE Contributor:

Wegner, Mirko and Schüler, Julia


100 Philosophy > 150 Psychology
700 Arts > 790 Sports, games & entertainment




Elsevier Science




Corinne Ammann

Date Deposited:

30 Mar 2015 17:08

Last Modified:

20 Feb 2017 08:34

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Affiliation; Motivation; Competition; Social interaction; Racquet sports





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