Analyzing the effects of human performance under stress
Pauls, Kathleen E.
Buttrey, Samuel E.
Meyer, David W.
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In order to analyze the effects of stress on human performance, we examined baseball players because of the large body of data and many measures of performance available. Clutch hitting is examined because a baseball player batting in a clutch situation is analogous to a person who is performing in a stressful situation. The more important, or clutch, the situation the more stress the player may feel. Statistical measures were used to determine if a player is able to perform better than his average ability in situations defined as clutch. Three different clutch definitions were used to examine eight consecutive years of baseball data. Major League Baseball (MLB) data showed an overall clutch effect; this was corrected for with a parameter, alpha, is specific to the definition of clutch. Once each player's nonclutch average minus the clutch average is corrected for with alpha, the chi-squared test is used to examine those differences. This analysis is also performed on the quartile values for batters who were ranked according to their difference, corrected by alpha. There is no evidence to support the claim that there are certain batters who perform better in clutch situations (compared to their own performance in non-clutch situations) than other batters.
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