Psychology of Sport, Physical Activity and Exercise
‘The Inverted ‘U’, IZOF and Catastrophe Model have been used to examine how anxiety affects athletic performance’
‘Discuss and critically evaluate how these theories have been utilised in the sporting environment’.
In this essay a point to look at three different theories with regards to anxiety, arousal and an athlete’s sports performance will be completed.
‘The relationship between anxiety and sport performance has attracted much research attention over the past 20 years, and researchers have tried to clarify this relationship by advancing several models and theories’.
(Woodman, T. et al, 2003)
The origin of the inverted U theory or by it’s other name the optimal arousal model emerges from two experimental psychologists, Yerkes and Dodson. What was found was that experiments conducted on laboratory animals in 1908 led them to a discovery of a relationship between the levels of arousal in the animals and its effect upon their performance. They noticed that the level of arousal was related to a positive performance, such that in selecting and performing a task in a maze the laboratory animals having a higher arousal level performed better.
A simply way of stating the Yerkes and Dodson law, as it has come to be known, is that learning improves as the level of arousal rises, until that level reaches an optimal point any more increase in arousal impacts it negatively. Therefore the relationship between arousal and skill acquisition can be seen represented in the form of an Inverted U.
What has to be noted is that the original research by Yerkes and Dodson initiated later research and development within the theory. In their theory Yerkes and Dodson did not revert to a change in the level of arousal and performance just whether arousal affected performance or not. What has to be looked at is that Yerkes and Dodson...