Comparing And Contrasting Two Theoretical Views On Arousal/Performance Relationship In The Sports Context

810 words - 4 pages

The two theoretical views on the relationship between arousal and performance in the sports context are the Drive theory and the Inverted-U theory but first, we define arousal and performance in sports context.The relationship between physiological arousal and motor performance has been of interest to psychologist since the early 1900's. Research led to the development of the two theories stated above. Arousal is a requisite for optimal sport performance. It has more often been defined physiologically as the intensity of behaviour on a continuum from sleep to extensive excitement.Proponents of the Inverted-U argue that the relationship between arousal and sport performance is nonlinear, that ...view middle of the document...

Although several research endeavours have supported the inverted-U theory, the general conclusion that moderates levels of arousal result in the highest levels of performance is actually simplistic. To account for the inverted-U relationship, one must consider the difficulty of the task, the skill of the player and the type of activity involved.In contrast to the inverted-U hypothesis, supporters of drive theory argue that the relationship between arousal and performance is linear and in the form of a positive correlation (Hull, 1951; Spence, 1956). Lowest levels of performance are expected when the individual experiences low level of arousal, moderate performance is associated with high arousal, and high performance is associated with high arousal. It is the prediction that high arousal is associated with top performance that is at odds with the inverted-U theory.The relationship between arousal and performance as predicted by drive theory is a function of the following formula:Performance = Habit Strength x DriveHabit Strength refers to the individual's prior learning of the task, while Drive refers to the individual's degree physiological arousal. Thus, an athlete's performance is thought to be a function of how well they have learned the specific tasks performed in a state of heightened arousal should result in the highest levels of...

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