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Document Type

Article

Abstract

The current investigation examined sport fans' impressions of an athlete described as a potential member of their team or a potential member of a rival team. In Study 1, we predicted that individuals would exhibit an ingroup favoritism effect by reporting more positive evaluations of the player's performance when he was described as a high-performing recruit for their team than when he was presented as a recruit for a rival. However, this effect was expected only among highly identified fans (i .e., fans with a strong psychological attachment to the team). College students (N = 70) classified as high or low in identification with a target team watched a videotaped basketball practice session involving a player identified as either a recruit for the target team or a rival. After completion of the videotape, participants rated the target athlete. As expected, planned contrast analyses indicated that the most positive ratings were given by highly identified persons evaluating a potential member of their team while the least positive evaluations were offered by highly identified fans rating a rival's potential player. Lowly identified persons reported moderate evaluations of each target player. In Study 2, we examined evaluations of the target recruit when this person was described in a more negative fashion. In this instance, the target team and level of fan identification had no significant impact on player evaluations.

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