How challenge and subtle-gendered-threat effect athletic performance

Jessica Twombly, The College of Wooster


The Biopsychosocial (BPS) model of challenge and threat is a useful tool for investigating the said states in humans during various social events. Researchers have used this model to investigate physiological as well as self-reported markers of challenge and threat in various social settings. The present study aims to understand how the BPS model applies to men and women in an athletically oriented task: darts. Men and women were evaluated in three different experimental conditions: challenge, threat, and control. It was hypothesized that participants in the challenge condition would outperform participants in the control and threat conditions. It was also hypothesized that participants in the control condition would outperform those in the threat condition. Results indicated that participants in the challenge group, regardless of gender or athletic status, performed the best. However, there was not a marked distinction between the control and threat groups.