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J Appl Behav Anal. 1992 Fall;25(3):657-63.

Behavioral momentum in college basketball.

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University of Pennsylvania.


Three classes of events were scored from videotapes of 14 college basketball games during the 1989 National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament: reinforcers (such as points and favorable turnovers), adversities (such as missed shots, unfavorable turnovers, and fouls), and responses to adversities (favorable or unfavorable outcomes of the first possession of the ball following an adversity). Within-game and within-team analyses of these data supported three findings. First, a team's favorable response to an adversity generally increased as the rate of reinforcement increased 3 min preceding the adversity. Second, basketball coaches called time-out from play when being outscored by their opponents an average of 2.63 to 1.0. Third, calling time-outs from play appeared to be an effective intervention for reducing an opponent's rate of reinforcement. Rates of reinforcement during the 3 min immediately after a time-out were nearly equal for both teams. Results are discussed within a behavioral momentum framework.


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