Arousal Drive theory Inverted U theory

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DTA Acquiring Movement Skills
How does arousal link to
motivation?

Intensity of behaviour is what is termed
‘arousal’.
Intensity of behaviour refers to the degree
of emotional energy that is felt in
different situations.

Like motivation it has two branches.
Arousal
Arousal is linked to the energised state
that drives a person to learn or perform.
 Homeostasis
 If the body is deprived or affected (put
under stress) then arousal levels in the
body increase and we are motivated to
behave in such a way as to reduce the
levels to the optimum level of arousal.

Somatic or physiological arousal

Somatic relates to the changing state of
the body. Changes to heart rate, blood
pressure and respiration.

Cognitive or psychological arousal
relates to the mind e.g., moment to
moment changes in worry or negative
thought.
Examples

With your partner describe a sporting
situation when you have felt or noticed
physiological/ somatic changes.

Do the same for cognitive/psychological
arousal.

If you have none then think of a sporting
example you have seen.
Drive Theory

A relationship
between arousal
and
performance.

An increase in
arousal is
proportional to an
increase in the
quality of
performance.

The quality of
performance depends
on how well the skill
has been learned.
Juggle task.

Have a novice and someone who is
proficient.

See how they fair when people are
watching them.

Does this support our theory?
Drive Theory


Explanation
When arousal is evident the Dominant
Response-behaviour is most likely to
emerge.

The dominant response is the motor
programme that is already learned and will
usually become evident when arousal is
raised.
Application of theory

The novice performer, one at the
cognitive or associative phase of
learning should not be subjected to
conditions that would evoke high arousal
because at this level the dominant
behaviour is likely to produce an ill timed
and mistake-ridden performance.
Application of theory
Tennis player has learned
correct technique.
 However, in a competitive
game the first serve hits the
net and because of the
increased pressure/ arousal
to get the second in

They revert back to previously
learned, error ridden serve.
Application of theory

High arousal would be beneficial to the
expert performer. One at the
autonomous stage of learning, because
their dominant behaviour would tend to
produce a response which is fluent and
technically correct.
Development
Criticisms
 Together with an observation of real life
situations and extensive research high
class athletes have been seen to fail in
high arousal situations.
 High class athletes are supposed to
have grooved skills and therefore
perform well in highly aroused states.
 Therefore, this approach has lost
credibility.

Summary and application
High arousal is beneficial to expert
performers/ their dominant response will
produce more fluent responses.
 Novice learners (COG/ASS) dominant
response will be less skilled and contain
mistakes.
 A novice needs to learn in an
environment of low arousal to
concentrate on the skill being learned.

Inverted U theory
Indicates or predicts that as arousal
increase so does the quality of
performance. However, quality improves
up to a point, midway on the axis. This is
called the optimum point or the threshold of
arousal.
 It predicts that the best performance occurs
at moderate levels of arousal.
 If arousal occurs beyond the optimum point
the performer becomes over-aroused and
the capacity both to learn or perform a
motor skill are deteriorated.

Inverted U theory
Point B
Point A
Point C
state what you think will happen at point:
A
B
C
 Explain reasons why this may happen
and the impact on the performance.
Point A Under arousal



If concentration is limited the
attention wanders to usually
unwanted cues as the
performer is under aroused.
The player may appear to be
daydreaming.
In these circumstances the
process of selective attention
cannot operate. Information
overload will then prevent
accurate decision making.
Playing at a lower level

What would make you under
aroused?
Point B



Optimum arousal
This is considered the perfect state in
which the potential performance is
maximised. The attention field adjusts
to the ideal width and as a result the
learner or performer is able to
concentrate.
As concentration is high, means
important information can be absorbed
and accurate decision can be made.

It is a product of selective attention and
taking on board the most important
information at the optimum point of arousal
is called the Cue utilisation Hypothesis.
Point C



Over
arousal
causes
 What
would
make the
youfield
overof attention
to narrow excessively. This may mean
that aroused?
the environmental cues may be
missed. The performer is often in a state
of near panic. This level of nervousness
Anxiety,
noise from the
iscalled
hyper vigilance.
crowd, pressure of the
The performer selective attention cannot
event.
Level
of for
operate
and the
capacity
concentration
is seriously impeded.
experience
Blind panic
Diagram of different levels of
arousal and phase of learning.
35
30
25
20
Elite
Intermediate
Novice
15
10
5
0
Category 1 Category 2 Category 3 Category 4
Read the passages on page 187
make notes in the booklet page
14-15

Complete the inverted work sheet.
Variations in the optimum levels of arousal are
caused by a combination of factors.
Personality
Which do you think perform better with a
higher level of arousal:
 Introverts B / Extroverts. A

Type of Task

Which performs better with a high level
of arousal:

Gross and simple., rugby tackle A

Fine and complex, putting in golf. B
Development

What can you suggest from your findings?
motor skills that are mainly gross
movement and relatively simple, using
strength, endurance require little decision
making are more effective with high levels
or arousal.
 Note: within a sport there may be different
arousal levels required at different times.

Stage of learning

Performance at cognitive level/
associative phase of learning. A

Autonomous phase
B
Level of experience

Low level of experience
A

More experienced performer
B
Application of knowledge





4
Q Using perceptual narrowing explain
what different strategies a coach may use
to develop a performers skills.
4
For the expert have some arousal but not
too much as too much arousal can also
hamper attention and in turn, create
inaccurate decisions.
Novice – level of arousal is initially low.
Limiting the unwanted cues
Increasing concentration and attention to
accurate decision making.
Catastrophe Theory

Draw the diagram on your graphs and then explain it on the
page using a sporting example.
Start with the sentence, the catastrophe theory claims as somatic
arousal increases so does quality of performance.
Draw the points on the graph as you explain them.
Use the terms cognitive and somatic arousal. These are the things
that are raising and lowering.
Point A This is the optimum point is the cognitive arousal can be
maintained. If high cognitive arousal occurs with high somatic
arousal you can tip over the edge. Point B
Point B the performance drops dramatically ‘performer has a
catastrophe’.
Critical evaluation of inverted U
theory and catastrophe theory.

Very unlikely that we have a smooth decline in
performance as increased arousal

More likely that we will have, (if somatic and
cognitive arousal are high) a sharp drop in
performance.
 What will a somatic and cognitive
heightened state of arousal look like?
 What would we expect to see? White
boards.
Somatic- Sweating, fast pulse, blood
pressure raised.
 Cognitive- worry or negative thought.

Exam
Compare and contrast drive theory, inverted U theory
and catastrophe theory as explanations for the relationship between
arousal and performance of motor skills.
[10]

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(Drive theory)
•
graph showing linear relationship between arousal and performance, with axes labelled;
•
performance increases as arousal increases;
•
dominant response is more likely to occur;
•
practical example;
•
explains performance of ballistic/dynamic gross/closed skills – opposed to other theories;
•
more likely with able performer opposed to other theories;
•
more motor programmes then more relevant;
•
theory does not explain how elite performers decline under pressure/high arousal opposed to
other theories.












(Inverted U theory)
•
graph (labelled) showing s-shaped curve with optimum point at moderate arousal and then a
similar/steady decline in performance;
•
performance increases as arousal increases but only up to an optimum point/moderate
arousal opposed to other theroies;
•
performance decreases as arousal gets higher than moderate;
•
practical example;
•
explains performance of games players/more complex/open skills opposed to other theories
esp drive;
•
the more able will be able to cope with more arousal;
•
less able will need lower levels of arousal;
•
increase and decrease never as smooth/steady as graph indicates;
•
graph includes variables including task/ability/personality;
•
description of the Zone of optimal functioning (ZOF)/peak flow experience at optimum level of
arousal.












(Catastrophe theory)
•
graph (labelled) showing linear relationship between arousal and
performance but a sudden decline in performance when arousal is high;
•
performance increases as arousal increases but suddenly/sharply
decreases above moderate arousal opposed to other theories;
•
practical example;
•
theory is about effects of different types of anxiety – other theories do not;
•
interaction of two types of anxiety – somatic and cognitive;
•
performers reactions often dictated by cognitive anxiety;
•
if somatic anxiety low and cognitive high then improves performance;
•
if both high then can lead to a sudden/catastrophic effect opposed to other
theories;
•
graph shows performance resuming at level below previous optimum as
arousal lowers;
•
this is a multidimensional theory in contrast to the other two;
•
it is a more realistic theory than other two, because it explains sudden
decreases in performances of elite performers.

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