Conceptions of sport ability and practice of sport: an implicit measure

Nicolas Mascret, Jean-Louis Falconetti and Fran├žois Cury

Aix Marseille Université, CNRS, ISM UMR 7287, 13288, Marseille, France


Mascret, N., Falconetti, J., Cury, F. (2016). Conceptions of sport ability and practice of sport: an implicit measure. International Journal of Sport Psychology, 47(2), 122-132. doi:10.7352/IJSP.2016.47.122


People may endorse two conceptions of the nature of sport ability: an entity theory (sport ability is considered innate, stable, a gift, a talent) and an incremental theory (sport ability is improvable, linked to training and effort). Previous studies (e. g., Biddle et al., 2003) have used explicit methods to assess these beliefs. Using an implicit measure (ST-IAT, Single-Target Implicit Association Test) in order to overcome the social desirability which might be induced by self-reported measures, this study examined (1) whether automatic and implicit conceptions of sportspersons and non-sportspersons differed, and (2) the correlation between IAT score and explicit perceived competence in sport. The results showed that sportspersons automatically associated sport with training rather than talent, whereas non-sportspersons had an easier association between sport and talent. Even if sportspersons had higher perceived competence in sport than non-sportspersons, the IAT score was not related to perceived competence.

Keywords: Entity, Implicit theory, Incremental, Implicit Association Test, Nonsportspersons, Perceived competence, Sport ability beliefs