Institute of Art Design + Technology
Dún Laoghaire

Eimear Branigan 

BSc [Hons] Applied Psychology

I have completed the BSc (Hons) in Applied Psychology (Practice path) in IADT. I have a particular interest in Sport Psychology, having grown up participating in many sports, including basketball, football, horse riding and swimming. I continue to play and coach basketball to-date. I hope to complete a postgraduate MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology after my BSc studies, and to begin a career consulting and researching in the area of Sport Psychology.

Project Description

This project examined the potential impact of no music, lyrical music, and instrumental music on basketball players' free-throw accuracy, and on their anxiety levels, both before and after listening to the various forms of music. The basketball players were assigned to one of the three music conditions. All participants started the study by completing a State Anxiety Scale, designed to measure how a person feels at a particular point in time, rather than being a measure of general anxiety. The participants allocated to the music conditions were then asked to listen to the respective piece of music chosen by the researcher. After this, the participants all completed the anxiety scale again. All participants also completed ten basketball free-throws. Their results for this task were recorded. 33 participants between the ages of 18 and 54 years participated in the study.

Project Objectives

This project aimed to understand how different types of music may impact sport performance and performance anxiety in athletes. Prior to this study, many researchers had used the same piece of music, with and without lyrics, to study the effect of lyrics in music on performance. However, this approach could lead to participants singing the lyrics of the song in their head if they are familiar with the song. This study addressed the impact of lyrics by comparing a lyrical piece of music and a strictly instrumental piece of different music. The project also aimed to understand the role of pre-task music on anxiety, by recording the state anxiety levels of the participants both before and after listening to music. Finally, this research study specifically examined basketball players’ performance and anxiety. Few studies have investigated the effect of different music types on both performance and anxiety in such a basketball, team sport, population.

Project Outcomes

The study's results indicated no significant differences in free-throw accuracy of the players based upon the type of music they listened to. The results also indicated no significant differences for the players’ anxiety levels based upon the type of music listened to. According to the data analysis carried out, there was no difference between the players’ anxiety levels before and after listening to music. The results further indicated no significant interaction between the time of measurement of the anxiety levels and the type of music the players listened to. The study focused on the free-throw accuracy and performance anxiety levels of basketball players. The study may have benefitted from a larger sample size and being conducted in competitive circumstances, where anxiety levels may have been higher.

Thesis Title

An investigation of the effect of music type (no music / lyrical / instrumental) on basketball players' sport performance and performance anxiety.