Social Facilitation in National Basketball Association Teams.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Although social facilitation has been extensively studied over the last 50 years in various domains, it has largely been understudied in the context of team sports. A total of 8950 National Basketball Association (NBA) games were investigated to assess how a team’s skill level and experience interact with audience size to predict performance. More specifically, audience size was measured in two ways: as the number of people in attendance at each game and whether the game was locally televised (fewer television viewers) or nationally televised (more television viewers). Contrary to expectations, underdog teams performed significantly better with larger audiences, an effect not found for their favoured counterparts. Also contrary to expectations, teams less experienced than their opponents performed significantly better in nationally televised games than in locally televised games. This effect was not found for more experienced teams. Additionally, no teams experienced a decrease in performance. These results add important findings to the information regarding sports and social facilitation and provide insight into team selection for high stakes games. They also enhance the sporting literature base which is considerably lacking in its assessment of social facilitation effects.