“This is Your Brain on Sports” is a weekly podcast from Sports Illustrated in which SI executive editor Jon Wertheim and Tufts University psychology professor Sam Sommers explore the intersection of sports and human nature—what the world of sports has to teach us about who we are, what we care about and the forces that shape our behavior.
On this week’s episode, Sommers and Wertheim discuss the psychology of an undefeated team. What are the dynamics of playing to keep a record going and extend it? After the Golden State Warriors saw their perfect streak come to an end and the Carolina Panthers continued theirs in Week 14, the pair talks about the importance of losing a game in the regular season. They also discuss whether or not an undefeated record actually sharpens focus or if the pressure ultimately puts more at stake during a game or match.