“We’ve spent the preceding chapters trying to make the case that there are rational underpinnings for all the supposed craziness and unusual behavior that sports seem to trigger. That is, that “your brain on sports” is really just your regular brain acting as it does in other contexts.”
Sound interesting? This is how Wertheim and Sommers sum up their latest book, This is Your Brain on Sports. From a sport psychology perspective, it’s a great book in the same vein as classics like “Freakonomics” or “Outliers.” The authors take common ideas and phenomena in sports and put them under the sociological and psychological research microscope to explain certain peculiar behaviors and that are common not only in sports, but in life in general.
Each chapter explores a unique idea from sports, examines the research, and relates it to real life. Beginning by promising answers to Why questions: “Why Hockey Goons Would Rather Fight at Home” to “Why We Need Rivals” to “Why Our Moral Compass is More Flexible than an Olympic Gymnast” these chapters offer excellent insights into how the mind works, how people relate to each other through the prism of sports, and uncovers why things that seem bizarre are actually quite common.. The conclusion is that sports isn’t so much different than life. Although, they do go on to explain: “…sports and athletic competition are fertile ground for scientists across disciplines to test their hypotheses about basic aspects of human nature.”
There’s a lot in here to relate to sport psychology and the mental game. For instance, popular theory says that sport psychology was founded in 1898 by Norman Triplett, who noticed that he rode his bicycle faster when he was with other people. In the chapter “Why We Need Rivals,” the authors explain how Triplett […]