Allegations of Performance-Enhancing Drug Use and Their Affect on Perceptions of Athlete Intellect

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Dix, Andrew
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College of Liberal Arts, Middle Tennessee State University
The central objective of this study was to examine whether allegations of performance- enhancing drug use could affect perceptions of athlete intelligence. Extant literature on sports science and intellect has suggested that athletes are frequently subjected to the negative connotations that are associated with the big dumb jock phenomenon. Critical race scholarship and stereotype threat were also highlighted in the review of related literature. A total of 96 participants completed a pre-test measure that assessed their perceptions of athletes, engaged in a non-related distraction task, and then completed a post-test measure that re-assessed their perceptions of athletes. It was during the post-test administration that participants were supplied negative allegations that implied the athletes had experimented with performance-enhancing drugs. Results indicated that unsubstantiated claims of performance-enhancing drug use resulted in all athletes being perceived as less intelligent. Additional findings illustrated a significant difference exists between how we perceive a black athlete who reportedly used performance-enhancing drugs and how we percei ve a white athlete who reportedly used performance-enhancing drugs. The data from the present investigation hints that athletes are guilty until proven innocent within the intellectual arena in circumstances where allegations of perfor mance- enhancing drug use are publicly disseminated via various mass communication channels. Implications for social judgment theory and avenues for future research were appropriately acknowledged within the present research.
Intellect, Race, Sports, Performance-enhancing drugs, Social judgment theory