Twelve participants completed the testing stage, ranging in age from 20-22 (mean = 20 years and 9 months, SD = 9 months). Using such a homogenous sample was intended to reduce variability and noise in the data, but it should be noted that this may have implications for the generalisability of the results. A sample size of 12 was consistent with Graydon & Murphy (1995).
The sample was divided into six introverts (EPI mean score of 6.83, SD= 0.75) and six extroverts (EPI mean score of 18.66, SD= 2.16) using Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI – Eysenck & Eysenck, 1964). The EPI has several subscales that construct an individuals personality such as neuroticism – emotional stability (N) and extroversion – introversion (E). However the present study only used the (E) scale to measure the participants’ personality. Each participant was a student from University of Lincoln. All participants had a category one handicap ranging from 0-5 (mean = 3.16, SD = 1.64) meaning they had very high ability. The level of playing experience in terms of years between introverts and extroverts were also consistent (introverts mean = 7 and extroverts mean = 7). Participants were all male in order to exclude any potential gender effects on social facilitation.
The Unified Handicap System developed by the Council of National Golf Unions (CONGU), is the measurement by which a golfer’s skill level is assessed. Handicap is based upon scoring consistency throughout the golf season. Each handicap is adjusted automatically through a computerised system after each qualifying competition (practice rounds and low-level competitions cannot be used to adjust handicap) and the player’s handicap is adjusted to reflect scores that are above or below it over a series of competitions. The handicap system was designed to provide a level playing field for all individuals involved in golf such that a low-ability player is allowed to use extra shots on certain holes when playing a more able player (the larger the gap the more shots received and on more holes). A handicap can be achieved by becoming a member of an affiliated club to National Unions and Associations, for example English Golf Union (EGU – CONGU, 2009). The lower the handicap of the player, the better the individual is, for example a player with a handicap of zero is five shots better than a player with a handicap of five. The study used category one golfers (five and below) meaning the players in this sample have practiced extensively and learned the skill to a high level.
4.2.2 – Eysenck Personality Inventory
The Eysenck Personality Inventory (EPI – Eysenck, 1964) is a 57 item questionnaire that identifies the personality by measuring extroversion, introversion, neuroticism and emotional stability by answering yes or no to each question. Questionnaires have been criticised for relying on the honesty of participants (Gratton & Jones, 2004). However, the EPI measures faking of an individual with the inclusion of a lie scale (L). The lie scale is designed to detect socially desirable answers and is elevated when attempts to give a good impression of themselves. McKelvie et al. (2003) proposed that participants who score four or five on the lie scale should have their data excluded as the participants’ extroversion and neuroticism score maybe contaminated by response bias.
4.3 – Equipment
Testing took place indoors at the Human Performance Centre at the University of Lincoln using an artificial putting green (see Appendix 7.1 for booking confirmation). Conducting the study indoors helped reduce the impact of uncontrollable variables, such as, grass-length and weather (rain, ice, underfoot conditions, wind). Twenty EPI’s were distributed to the participants (see Appendix 7.2 for example of EPI, scoring system and completed introvert and extrovert EPI). Informed consent forms were printed off and given to participants to read and sign, this gave their permission and also informed the researcher that they understood their rights, (see Appendix 7.3). Each participant brought their own putters and three golf balls. This ensured familiarity with the equipment so that this did not become a confounding variable. A tape measure was used to ensure that the participants putted from exactly ten feet, this was then be marked out with a small sticker. A Polar heart rate monitor (T31 coded transmitter) was used to measure the participants’ heart rate before they started, after the fifth shot and after the tenth shot so that the average and change during testing could be calculated. An audience consisting of fifteen unknown individuals were gathered together so that presence of an audience could be tested. An unfamiliar audience was used in line with Brown and Garland (1971) who suggested that being familiar with the audience may detract from the effects observed. A de-brief (participant information sheet) was also provided at the end of testing to explain the study and remind the participants that they had the right to withdraw and that their results will be kept strictly confidential (see Appendix 7.4).
4.4 Pilot Study
A pilot study was conducted in the month of February 2009 and looked to identify the optimum crowd density to cause social facilitation effects. The pilot study used the same protocol as the present study however on a smaller scale. The protocol tested the sample of 2 introvert and 2 extrovert participants. The Pilot study tested various crowd densities consisting of 5, 10 and 15 individuals. It was necessary to identify the optimum density as if the audience within main study was small and did not have a large effect, the overall success of the present study would have been limited. Also, due to the limited space of the facilities it was important to identify a crowd density that has an effect, it would help plan how many would be needed and whether it is feasible to conduct within the parameters of the facility.
The results shown, through the use of mathematical calculations and interviews that the crowd density of 15 had a larger impact upon performance. The pilot study also highlighted that the crowd density of 15 individuals was feasible to conduct within the facility parameters. Therefore the pilot study has impacted on the present study in that it has highlighted an appropriate density of the audience for the audience conditions.
The six highest scoring introvert and extrovert category one golfers were selected from the initial pool of twenty participants. The scale of personality is one scale with categorised introverts and extroverts at either end. Between these points it can be assumed the individual portrays characteristics of both personality types. The twelve participants selected were the six highest scoring from their categorised scale. This aided the validity as it was a truer representation of the personality type, as a participant did not score highly in both meaning they did not portray behavioural characteristics associated with both personality categories. The study gained ethical clearance from the departmental ethics committee in the Department of Sport, Coaching and Exercise Sciences at the University of Lincoln. Before the study took place the participants were given an informed consent form. This notified what the study entailed and also informed them of their rights
The participant hit ten putts from exactly ten feet using their own putter and golf balls. Their success rate out of ten putts was recorded. The heart rate of the participant was also recorded before the first shot, after the fifth and also after the tenth shot to enable the average heart rate and percentage change to be calculated for each condition. Each participant performed this protocol in three conditions. The alone condition involved having only the experimenter present; an evaluative audience condition, in which 15 unknown people watched; and a mere presence condition, where the same audience was blindfolded, this preventing them from being evaluative. All conditions were completed in silence.
Thomas and Nelson (2001) suggested that such a repeated measures design may be beneficial due to the reduction of between-subject variability. However, boredom, fatigue and practice effects are more likely to be apparent in this design, so the participants completed each condition one week apart through a counterbalanced process to avoid these effects.
4.6 Statistical Analysis
The data was analysed using a two-way mixed ANOVA (2?3) (two levels of personality: an unrelated samples variable, and three levels of condition, measured as a related samples variable). The two-factor mixed ANOVA tested for main effects of personality and condition, but the hypothesized differential effects of audience in relation to personality would be detected by examining the interaction term, and the post-hoc tests.