Keeping It Cool Not Always Best Strategy on the Playing Field

b_250_0_16777215_00_images_obgrabber_2014-01_edf56406cb.jpgFuse/Thinkstock (NEW YORK) -- Anger on the playing field can often work to an athlete’s advantage or disadvantage, depending on the sport, according to University of California behavioral economist Uri Gneezy. For instance, when one becomes enraged during games where strength is a key element to winning, it could help a player get the upper hand over an opponent. However, the reverse is usually the case during games of strategy.

Gneezy says that anger could make a person lose focus. And if that happens, the other player should know “how to manipulate other people's emotions."

Gneezy then brings up the example of Italian soccer player Marco Materazzi who talked trash about French player Zinedine Zidane’s sister.  Although Zidane got some measure of revenge by head butting his opponent, it was Materazzi who won the war because Zidane got tossed out of the game and Italy ultimately emerged victorious.

Repeating his contention about when it’s important and when not to lose one’s cool, Gneezy said, “A good negotiator, a good lawyer, a good politician will think about ways to manipulate the emotions of the other side.”

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