A bigger high or a deeper low - that's the gamble you make with watching tomorrow's big game among other fans at the pub, psychologists say.

"When our friends and colleagues are happy and excited, we are likely to reflect those emotions - and possibly amplify them," said Dr Danny Osbourne, a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland's school of psychology.

The problem is, if things turn bad, the suffering can also be amplified, he said. "And when we are feeling embarrassed, or mourning the loss of something, the almost natural inclination is to withdraw and seek solace by yourself."

Such a collective climate has been created by a national identification with our cricket team - a path which we have chosen, said Dr Osbourne.


Victory would mean we could bask in reflected glory - which, beyond an oft-used phrase, is a researched cognition in social psychology - while defeat would trigger the reverse phenomenon.

"I don't think anybody is going to develop any psychological disorders if the Black Caps lose, but definitely, it can be an emotional roller-coaster - and your physiology can respond to the ups and downs of the match."

Professor Will Hayward, the school's head of department, said people generally have a strong need for affiliation with groups, which is one of the big reasons we follow sports teams.

The Black Caps had been successful in generating an image that was highly desirable to us all - playing the game the right way, taking risks that come off, and supporting each other - so we followed them not just because they were Kiwis, but because we aspired to be like them, he said.

"So people may also want to be around others who demonstrate that affiliation, in which case the pub is your best option."

But others who would find the experience tense might prefer to be in isolation at home, so they didn't have peer pressure and could manage the stress by themselves, said Professor Hayward.

"I was at Eden Park on Tuesday and I must say it was pretty emotional - but I'll watch the final in the comfort of home."

Black Caps on the big screens
When to watch: Build-up begins from 2.30pm on Sky Sport 3, before coverage of the match begins at 4.30pm.
Live, free coverage, is also on Prime from 4.20pm.

Auckland: The Fanzone at Takutai Square, Britomart, has been doubled to include a second screen and additional seating extending its capacity to about 3000 people.

Hamilton: No official Fanzone. Local pubs showing the game include Good Neighbour, Good George, Smith & McKenzie and Iguana.

Tauranga: No official Fanzone. Local bars showing the game include Cornerstone, The Strand and the Crown and Badger.

Wellington: A giant screen in Wellington's Civic Square will screen the action from 4pm.

Christchurch: The Christchurch City Council is expecting a near 5000 capacity crowd at its Fanzone in Victoria Square.