Project Title

Sport and perspective taking

Project Abstract

The current investigation was designed to examine the relationship between level of fan dysfunction and perspective taking. Fan dysfunction refers to the extent to which a fan has the tendency to complain and be confrontational within the sporting environment (Wakefield & Wann, 2006). For instance, dysfunctional fans often go out of their way to cause a scene within the sport settings (e.g., attend away games to confront opposing fans; complain about the service quality of the venue; yell aggressively about a poor call). Subsequent research has revealed that high levels of fan dysfunction are positively associated with aggression on cognitive (Donahue & Wann, 2009; Wann & Geoke, 2017) and behavioral levels (Wann & Sherman, 2019; Wann & Waddill, 2014). A common characteristic among dysfunctional fans is the inclination of wanting to influence—via superstitious behaviors—the sports setting in some way (Wann & Geoke, 2018). Assertiveness is another common trait found among fans with higher levels of fan dysfunction (Wann & Ostrander, 2017). Research on perspective taking has linked high perspective taking (i.e., the ability to take on viewpoints of others) with enhanced social functioning and lower social dysfunction (Davis, 1983). For example, Davis (1980) found that high perspective taking was associated with a greater amount of selfless thinking regarding the feelings and reactions of others. To investigate the relationship between fan dysfunction and perspective taking, participants (university students) will be asked to complete a questionnaire packet assessing level of team identification (James, Delia, & Wann, 2019), the Dysfunctional Fandom Questionnaire (Wakefield & Wann, 2006), and the Perspective Taking Scale (Davis, 1980). It is hypothesized that there will be a negative correlation between level of fan dysfunction and level of perspective taking ability. Thus, our prediction is that individuals who score higher on fan dysfunction will score lower on perspective taking ability. The logic here is that, because high perspective taking ability is positively associated with social functioning, and fan dysfunction is positively associated with dysfunctional behaviors, perspective taking and fan dysfunction should have a negative relationship. Results of this study will strengthen the understanding of dysfunctional sport fandom as well as provide further insight on the variables associated with perspective taking ability.


Conference name (full, no abbreviations): 92nd Annual Midwestern Psychological Association Conference

Dates: 4/22/2020 – 4/25/2020

Sponsoring body: Midwestern Psychological Association

Conference website:

Funding Type

Travel Grant

Academic College

College of Humanities and Fine Arts




Psychology (Bachelor's)

Graduation Expected

Fall 2020




Daniel L. Wann, PhD.

Academic College

College of Humanities and Fine Arts

Beginning date of project


End date of project


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