The Tiger Woods Effect

Suphavat Khamijoun from OZA's global partner in Thailand, TMRC Research, passes along an article by Jonah Lehrer (author of Proust was a Neuroscientist and How We Decide) about the so-called “Tiger Woods Effect.”

It is a look at why we often should let our unconscious minds have free rein.  Lehrer presents a hypothesis that when people get nervous about performing, they tend to fixate on the details of what are doing, don’t perform naturally,  and thus don’t perform well.

This might explain why Tiger Woods’ competitors tend to crumble in the latter stages of a golf tournament.  Because Woods is so good, other golfers feel like they need to be perfect, begin overanalyzing their swings, and end up missing easy putts and slicing balls into the trees.

Suphavat has an interesting hypothesis of his own:  He suggests that perhaps this is why traditional direct questioning in market research doesn’t work well in many circumstances.  It forces consumers to overanalyze their behavior and thoughts, thus their tendency to “get it wrong" in those kinds of research environments.