To deal with this problem, most sports leagues impose salary caps on their teams, as they attempt to shrink the gap between the best and the worst, the richest and the poorest. If talent is fairly rewarded – i.e., LeBron James gets paid what he deserves – then inequality increases and NBA underdogs are even less likely win. For a lot of people sports are a way to escape the … Same reason why you would watch any other TV show. Sports are a huge entertainment business – the NFL alone generates at least $7 billion a year in television revenue  – so it’s easy to lose sight of their essential absurdity. Much of the answer is based on the phenomenon known as … The fresh air. “I think it’s pretty clear that the second half of the [NBA] season should be shorter,” Christenfeld says. (The best tests are said to “hang together.”) In other words, if the quarterbacks performed equally well on both halves of the test, then the test is probably measuring. Why do we watch sports? Here's what's happening in your brain and body when you watch a game. This model also comes with practical consequences, helping us evaluate potential rule changes to a given game. “If sports were pure contests of skill, then they’d quickly become genetic tournaments,” Christenfeld says. We don’t seriously consider salary caps – we talk about marginal tax rates. These words remind me exactly why we all love sports. A Testosterone-Fueled Feeling of Dominance. People like sports because, like the theater, it is a venue for emotional expression. It's a bizarre thing to get emotional about. Most people see a clear distinction between gaming and athletics. And what in the world could be the advantage of simply sitting around and watching other people play. “You never want the outcome to feel arbitrary,” Christenfeld says. As a sports fan, there really is no better place to experience a big game than at the stadium. We love sports for a million reasons unique to our personal experiences. It's a simple question with a complicated answer. Turns out an array of scientific disciplines — psychology, physiology, cognitive science — have offered answers. Such reliability manifests itself as a competitive imbalance, as the best teams routinely dominate their lesser opponents. Fortunately, at a sports bar, you can simply swivel your head 5 degrees and watch a new game. “People always say, ‘We watch men’s sports because they’re the best at what they do and women aren’t the best.’ Well, neither are Little Leaguers. Pretty sweet. At least 40 percent of children in the United States play a team sport on a regular basis. ... On the last day of 1967, more than 50,000 people attended the coldest NFL game in … People like sports because they need an escape from real-world troubles. Why Do Men Watch Sports? Watching sports allows us a temporarily safe and socially acceptable way to be more like our true nature, and our true nature is frighteningly childlike. The authors define eSports (electronic sports) as “a form of sports where the primary aspects of the sport are facilitated by electronic systems; the input of players and teams as well as the output of the eSports system are mediated by human-computer interfaces.” He comes from Michigan, a very pleasant peninsula. Here's the model in short form: humans like watching feats of physical talent, but we still want to be surprised. All of these speculations are probably a little bit true. People like sports because it’s exciting. “But that’s not much fun to watch.” As a result, the most successful sports have evolved rules to encourage what Christenfeld calls an “optimal level of discrepancy.”. The people watching the German game were impressed with the women’s ball handling skills, their teamwork and their propensity to always be in … Should we shorten the baseball season, as many fans and commentators have proposed? Thanks to chance, the underdog (which is a polite way of saying the less talented team) still has a chance. In real life, of course, we’re not concerned about upsets and underdogs – we care about social mobility. According to research cited by Grantland, “about one-fifth of the neurons that fire in the premotor cortex when we perform an action (say, kicking a ball) also fire at the sight of somebody else performing that action.”  These special neurons are called mirror neurons, and they allow us to “instantaneously understand [an] action, its goal, and even the emotions associated with it, without having to do any inferential thinking about it.” Unsurprisingly, they play a big role in sports spectatorship. At least for men, it’s an increased feeling of dominance. The NBA is probably the sport most in need of Christenfeld’s advice. In essence, we are watching freakishly large humans in tight polyester outfits play with balls. (As Christenfeld notes, sports that are more reliable, such as football, do give partial credit for performance: “Football has field position,” he says. But unless you solely define sports as “something that happens outside,” it’s hard to find serious differences between “real” sports and Esports. In order to measure the internal consistency of the test, you should randomly divide the questions into two groups. Nevertheless, the basic tensions remain the same. The first study found that those who strongly identified with the school’s men’s varsity basketball team were more likely to have high self-esteem and less likely to experience depression. Maybe we should all watch a little more basketball? In recent years, the term extreme sports has evolved on grand scale. So the next time you deal with a difficult person, remember that they are just a large child, like you and everyone else, and maybe that knowledge will help you deal with them a little more easily. Sports are a huge entertainment business – the NFL alone generates at least $7 billion a year in television revenue – so it’s easy to lose sight of their essential absurdity. A few years after the University of Kansas study, researchers at the University of Utah and Georgia State University studied testosterone levels of World Cup spectators (26 male fans between the ages of 21 and 40, to be precise). "What makes a good sport." Next time somebody asks you why you watch sports, you’ll finally have an answer — its’s science. What about changing the requirements of women’s tennis, so that players have to win the same number of sets as men? The purpose of this paper is to investigate why do people spectate eSports on the internet. It’s also de-motivating, and can create a feedback loop in which the “underdogs” are even less likely to compete in the first place. “The data suggest that women’s tennis is more reliable” – the best players are more likely to win – “so I’d guess that adding another set would make it too reliable,” Christenfeld says. “A hitter doesn’t get partial credit for hitting the warning track.” The end result is that success in America’s game is an all-or-nothing proposition, which increases the noisiness of victory. Which would be the same as saying to fill [spare] time or to fill in time that would be spent doing nothing. The measure is often used when assessing the reliability – that is, the internal consistency – of a psychological test. But I'm most intrigued by the so-called talent-luck theory, which was first proposed by the UCSD psychologist Nicholas Christenfeld in 1996. In essence, we are watching freakishly large humans in tight polyester outfits play with balls. Instead, Christenfeld points out that randomness of a single baseball game is balanced out by the fact that the baseball regular season is 162 games long, or ten times longer than the football season. Sports can create hope where once there was only despair. There's the tribal theory, and the mirror neurons cavort, and the patterning hypothesis, which argues that sports take advantage of our tendency to hallucinate patterns in the noise. There are way too many games where the outcome is predictable.”. Let’s say, for instance, that you’ve developed a new cognitive assessment designed for NFL quarterbacks. In the early ‘90s, Nyla R. Branscombe and Daniel L. Wann — both researchers at the University of Kansas — found that “strong identification with a specific sports team provides a buffer from feelings of depression and alienation, and at the same time, fosters feelings of belongingness and self worth.” In order to reach this conclusion, Branscombe and Wann performed survey-based studies involving University of Kansas undergraduates. Although sabermetricians have gotten far better at measuring various kinds of athletic talent, from DVOA to PER, the entertainment value of sports is inseparable from the fact that the talent of players is intentionally constrained by the rules of the game. The second study achieved similar results: the strongly identified were more likely to experience positive feelings and less likely to experience negative feelings. Watching football on Thanksgiving might seem like a modern tradition, but Americans have been taking to the gridiron on Turkey Day since the 19th century. Let’s say, for instance, that you’ve developed a new cognitive assessment designed for NFL quarterbacks. There's no shortage of social science that tries to pin down the appeal of sports. What’s the effect of increased testosterone levels? Sports and teams are an escape for some people. He spends his free time reading and writing. (The best tests are said to “hang together.”) In other words, if the quarterbacks performed equally well on both halves of the test, then the test is probably measuring something, even if we still don’t know what that something is. Watching football isn't as intense as actually playing, but it can feel pretty close. That will increase reliability, which might be good for baseball, but bad for rugby. In other words: There is no single answer to why people watch sports, … The basic anser would be they watch sports for the entertainment value. Nature 383.6602 (1996): 662-662. Plus sports are real and you get to make bets and predictions, then feel good about yourself if you're right. According to his data, the season reliability of basketball is 0.890, which is far higher than the NFL’s season reliability of 0.681. “There is also no partial credit in baseball,” he says. Socializing and networking. If you’re a sports fan, you probably have trouble answering when a non-fan asks why you like watching sports. And then there is the larger lesson of Christenfeld’s research, which concerns the difficulty of managing the competing claims of talent and equality. As a result, the most successful sports (i.e., those on Sportscenter) have found a way to engineer an ideal balance of skill and randomness. “The history of basketball is the history of basketball dynasties. Sports fandom can be linked to social status and our self-esteem, based on the social identity theory. Baseball, for instance, has a single game reliability of 0.008. Check out what the research has to say. The local fandom has something in common. Christenfeld, Nicholas. It is fun to be cheering for a team with your family and friends or having cookouts and such. The buzz in the building. For that reason, the harder it is to score in a game, the more wonder scoring should create in its fans when it does happen. It can be categorized into three main types: Air, Land and Water. The measure is often used when assessing the reliability – that is, the internal consistency – of a psychological test. If that seems low, it’s because it is – the NBA is roughly eleven times more reliable on a per game basis than MLB. Originality: During recent years, eSports (electronic sports) and video game streaming have become rapidly growing forms of new media in the internet driven by the growing provenance of (online) games and online broadcasting technologies. Seasons in half and then computed their split-half reliability is a measure of the,... 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