chapter  2
Recognising athletes’ motivational states
Pages 22

According to reversal theory, observation of a person’s behaviour cannot necessarily provide an accurate insight into the thinking and motivation behind the behaviour. Japanese motorcycle rider Tomomi Manako’s behaviour at the 1996 Catalonian Grand Prix provides a good illustration of why reaching conclusions about motivation based on observation of behaviour should be avoided. In celebrating his first win, Manako stunned and angered local fans by repeatedly grasping one arm at the elbow with his other hand and raising an outstretched finger. Manako later tried to explain that he had not realised his gesture was a traditional Latin insult, but that he had been trying to indicate that he was number one. The crowd observed Manako’s mistaken behaviour and misunderstood what his motive had been.