Give me five? Examining the psychophysiological effects of high-fives in athletes

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlesResearchpeer-review


Research units


High-fives are a phenomenon that is frequently observed in sports. However, investigations on effects of high-fives are missing. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to examine psychophysiological effects of high-fives. From an embodied cognition perspective, dynamic, upward movements compared to downward movements should activate positive concepts that are represented by psychological as well as physiological states. Thirty-four athletes performed high- and low-fives (dynamic movements) as opposed to high and low static postures (control conditions) in a double-blind, within-subject design. Psychological states (i.e., feeling motivated, feeling strong) and physiological changes (i.e., cortisol, testosterone) due to the manipulation were measured. Results showed the predicted significant interaction effect for cortisol changes, but not for the other psychological (i.e., feeling motivated, feeling strong) and physiological (testosterone) state measures. In detail, a decrease in cortisol was found after athletes performed high-fives compared to low-fives. The observed effect on cortisol should be considered with caution and needs to be replicated, however, might add information to the current discussion about the crucial relevance of movement for embodied cognition effects. Future research could investigate the effects of high-fives with a partner and add performance parameters to provide more information on the effects of high-fives on performance in sport.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)211-219
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 01.09.2019

ID: 3683863

View graph of relations