Positive Contagion in Golf Performance

New paper on contagion in sports performance:

Putting Like a Pro: The Role of Positive Contagion in Golf Performance and Perception


Many amateur athletes believe that using a professional athletes equipment can improve their performance. Such equipment can be said to be affected with positive contagion, which refers to the belief of transference of beneficial properties between animate persons/objects to previously neutral objects. In this experiment, positive contagion was induced by telling participants in one group that a putter previously belonged to a professional golfer. The effect of positive contagion was examined for perception and performance in a golf putting task. Individuals who believed they were using the professional golfers putter perceived the size of the golf hole to be larger than golfers without such a belief and also had better performance, sinking more putts. These results provide empirical support for anecdotes, which allege that using objects with positive contagion can improve performance, and further suggest perception can be modulated by positive contagion.

via PLoS ONE: Putting Like a Pro: The Role of Positive Contagion in Golf Performance and Perception.


  1. Is your share button borked? A blog post I tweeted gets sent to "getpersonas.com" instead of your blog post.

  2. Not exactly using their equipment, but it reminded me of a story of my bro and I walked into a top level tournament at our local pool hall, so we watched the pro pool players (including a still alive but rubenesque Steve Mizerak) for 45 minutes or so. We then went to our backup place and when we played each other we were knocking down everything in sight. Might have been tempo matching or something else, but seeing pro athletes in the flesh definitely had an effect that day.

  3. After todays round anyone know where I can get a whole set of clubs used previously by a pro. Bad day at the offuce!!