Psychologists at Purdue University have come up with an interesting twist on the old notion of the power of positive thinking. Call it the power of positive perception: They’ve shown that you may be able to improve your golf game by believing the hole you’re aiming for is larger than it really is.
Jessica Witt, who studies how perception and performance are related, decided to look at golf — specifically, how the appearance of the hole changes depending on whether you’re playing well or poorly.
So she took a large poster board to a golf course with circles of different sizes drawn on it. Some circles matched the size of the golf hole, some were larger and some were smaller. As golfers finished their rounds, she showed them her poster board and asked them to select the circle that matched the size of the hole.
After she got the golfers’ scores, she did some math: “The golfers who did better and had a lower score selected larger circles as matching the size of the hole,” Witt says. The good golfers overestimated the size of the hole by 10 to 20 percent.
Read or listen to the whole story: NPR