Inaugural Lecture of Professor Maria Kavussanu

Teaching and Learning Building
Thursday 22 June 2023 (16:30-18:00)

Contact Charlotte Griffin

Professor Maria Kavussanu

This is an in-person only event in the Teaching and Learning Building at the University of Birmingham.

Everyone is welcome to this event. Guests are invited to join Maria after the lecture for refreshments in the Lapworth Museum. Registration for the event is here.

Toward a happier, healthier, and more ethical sport: How can research on sport morality contribute to this ideal?

Join Professor Maria Kavussanu for their Inaugural Lecture. 

As a context, where social interaction is inevitable, and success is objectively defined as winning, a value which often conflicts with the ideal of fair play, sport is replete with behaviours that have moral connotations. Some of these are prosocial behaviours, which are acts that help or benefit others, for example, helping an opponent off the ground and supporting or congratulating a teammate; some are antisocial behaviours, which are acts that harm or disadvantage others, for instance, diving to fool the referee, trying to injure an opponent, and verbally abusing a teammate. An extreme case of antisocial behaviour is the use of banned performance-enhancing substances and methods, also known as doping. These behaviours are morally relevant, because they have consequences for others’ rights and psychological and physical well-being.

In my inaugural lecture, I will explain how a line of research, which centres on morally relevant sport behaviour and can be traced in my postgraduate years, has evolved over time, and has provided insights that can help us achieve the ideal sport experience. I will shed light on the social and psychological factors, which facilitate or inhibit prosocial and antisocial behaviours in the context of sport, and the consequences of these behaviours for the recipient’s emotions, motivation, and broader well-being. Finally, I will present my intervention research on promoting prosocial behaviour and preventing doping in sport and explain how the latter line of research is currently influencing international organisations.

Maria Kavussanu is Professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology at the University of Birmingham. She earned her BSc from the University of Athens, Greece, her MSc from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and her PhD from the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign. Maria has published over 140 journal articles and book chapters on a variety of sport psychology topics. She has received funding for her research from the Economic and Social Research Council, the Nuffield Foundation, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and the International Olympic Committee, and research awards from the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity and the European College of Sport Science. Maria has served as Editor-in-Chief of Sport, Exercise and Performance Psychology, has been involved with most sport psychology journals either as Associate Editor or Editorial Board member, and has delivered several keynote addresses at meetings of international organisations, such as the International Society of Sport Psychology and the Italian Association of Sport Psychology. Funded by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account, this year Maria worked with the International Testing Agency to deliver anti-doping education to athletes and their support personnel worldwide. In her spare time, Maria plays tennis and swims.