During sporting competition, athletes are used to facing pressure situations. Personality, reflecting stable patterns of thoughts, feelings, and emotions, can influence psychophysiological responses to pressure, which can lead either to an increase or a decrease in sport performance. Understanding the mechanisms triggering performance decrement under pressure is crucial in order to form suitable interventions to address this phenomena. At the cognitive level, a decrease in sport performance is likely to be associated with a decrease in executive performance. Executive functions serves as an umbrella term for goal-oriented control functions of the prefrontal cortex. Three basic executive functions are usually considered: working memory, cognitive flexibility, and inhibition. Furthermore, moderators may play a role regarding how pressure influences executive functions, and in this chapter, we focus on the role of personality. Specifically, the concept of trait activation will be discussed, and how different personality traits influence executive functioning depending on the characteristics of the situation. Practical implications for athletes, coaches, and referees will be detailed, specifically around training executive functions. This training may help the population of interest to cope with performance decrements linked to specific trait activation under pressure.
|Title of host publication||Stress, Well-Being, and Performance in Sport|
|Editors||Rachel Arnold, David Fletcher|
|Number of pages||18|
|Publication status||Published - 9 Mar 2021|
|Name||Routledge Psychology of Sport, Exercise and Physical Activity|