Spontaneous Self-Talk: An Insight into the Cognitive Component of Emotions in Sport

Alexander T. Latinjak1,2, Jordi Corbalan-Frigola2, Pau Alcoy-Fabregas2 and Jamie B. Barker3

1 University of Suffolk, UK.
2 EUSES, University of Girona, Spain.
3 Loughborough University, UK.

The purpose of this study was to examine the content of spontaneous self-talk, that is non-instrumental statements that come to mind unbidden and effortlessly, in positive and negative emotion-eliciting situations. Thirty male athletes answered, in one-to-one meetings with a trained research assistant, a booklet with questions on spontaneous self-talk in situations eliciting anger, anxiety, excitement and euphoria. Our results yielded light, generally, on the structure of spontaneous self-talk in emotion-eliciting situations, and particularly, on the content of spontaneous self-talk in each type of emotion-eliciting situation. Particularly, most spontaneous self-talk was positive and anticipatory with excitement (68%), positive and retrospective with euphoria (68%), negative or neutral and anticipatory with anxiety (78%), and negative and retrospective with anger (85%). Hence, specific interventions for each emotion, and its corresponding spontaneous self-talk, are proposed.

KEYWORDS: Athletes; Emotion regulation; Thoughts; Valence; Time perspective; Sport.