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Arousal Theories

Categories: Theories

During the rallies, you might see that their arousal levels were increasing since he kept hitting the shuttle harder and harder each time and because he is in the autonomous phase of knowing, as arousal levels increased, so did their performance as they won most rallies.


Drive theory– this theory states that as arousal levels increase, so does performance/dominant response. With cognitive learners, their dominant action is usually incorrect, so low stimulation levels work best as their dominant action is decreased.

With athletes in the self-governing stage, their dominant reaction is typically correct, so high stimulation levels work best as their performance increases. Inverted U theory – At low levels of arousal, performance will be listed below par, the professional athlete is not psyched up. As arousal increases so does efficiency, approximately an optimum point. After this point, additional boosts in arousal lead to decreases in efficiency. Each athlete has their own optimal level of arousal.

Optimal arousal is higher for more simple tasks and lower for more complex tasks.

An increase in arousal causes improvement in performance up to an optimal point (moderate arousal level). After this point, increased arousal leads to deteriorated performance. Catastrophe theory – like the inverted U theory, catastrophe theory claims that as somatic arousal increases then the quality of performance improves. Performance will reach maximum potential at the optimum level only if cognitive arousal anxiety is kept low. If high cognitive anxiety coincides with high somatic arousal the athlete will go beyond the optimum level of arousal and is thought to have gone over the edge, where performance drops shown by a vertical line on the graph.

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After this, the performer can rejoin the upward curve of arousal and gain the optimal threshold again, to do this they have to lower cognitive anxiety.

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Arousal Theories. (2016, Dec 16). Retrieved from

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