Human beings are very social creatures. We evolved as part of communities , and much of who we are and what we think is based on how others in our groups behave and act towards us. People also want status : we feel better if the group we're part of is demonstrably better than other groups that we're not part of. One way in which people can both belong to a group and experience group success is by showing support for a football team.
Anyone who identifies as part of the group known as "England supporters" is going to be invested in them succeeding no matter what their chances, or who plays where, and will react accordingly when the team succeeds or fails. The exact neurological mechanisms behind this are tricky to pin down, but some studies implicate parts of the brain such as the cortical midline structures, temporo-parietal junction and the anterior temporal gyrus, all brain regions that can show increased activity when processing social stimuli.
However, this is an incredibly nuanced and complex process, as well as being hard to study in the first place. People prefer to watch major games like England World Cup matches as part of large groups; if they can't go and physically be present for the game in the venue, they'll congregate in pubs or each other's houses.
While this may sound like just an excuse to hang out and drink, being part of an emotional group can have genuine psychological effects. As mentioned, people are already emotionally invested in being part of the group and seeing their team succeed. But if you're surrounded by others who feel the same in an uncertain situation eg watching a football match this can make things far more intense.
People in highly aroused groups eg angry mobs undergo a process called "deindividuation" , where the emotional state of the immediate group overrides our own judgment and thinking, making us more impulsive and less self-aware. That explains normally quite meek fans screaming horrible abuse at the TV in a crowded room. So those watching the football are already in a state of high arousal. The body's biological control systems, not quite grasping what's going on, can flood the body with adrenaline , as part of the fight-or-flight response.
We become flooded with the hormones and glucose necessary for quick action, and this needs to be expressed somehow. This is why the anticipation of football can be so aggravating: fans are physically primed for action, but can't vent it. Load up these reels now to find out why the Foxin' Wins series has proved so popular among slots fans across the world. Our tech geniuses are now working on solving this issue.
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