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Effects of Anxiety on Sport Performance. October 3, 2002. Significant Theories. Drive Theory (Hull) Inverted-U (Yerkes & Dodson) Catastrophe ( Hardy & Fazey ) Multidimensional Anxiety (Martens, Burton, & Vealey) Zone of Optimal Functioning (Hanin) Flow State (Csikszentmihalyi).

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significant theories
Significant Theories
  • Drive Theory (Hull)
  • Inverted-U (Yerkes & Dodson)
  • Catastrophe (Hardy & Fazey)
  • Multidimensional Anxiety (Martens, Burton, & Vealey)
  • Zone of Optimal Functioning (Hanin)
  • Flow State (Csikszentmihalyi)
drive theory hull 1943
Drive Theory (Hull, 1943)
  • Most simplistic of the theories
  • P = f(H, D)
  • H = Dominant response
  • D = Arousal level (drive)
drive theory
Drive Theory
  • Increased arousal (drive) will elicit the dominant response
  • Response associate with strongest potential to respond is the dominant response
drive theory5
Drive Theory
  • Early in learning, or for complex tasks, dominant response is the incorrect response
  • Late in learning, or for simple tasks, dominant response is the correct response
drive theory problems
Drive Theory - Problems
  • No predictive ability
  • Too simplistic
  • No consideration of skill type (gross vs. fine)
  • Differentiation between anxiety & arousal?
multidimensional anxiety theory martens burton vealey 1990
Multidimensional Anxiety Theory(Martens, Burton, Vealey, 1990)
  • Focus on anxiety, not just arousal
  • Distinction between cognitive & somatic anxiety
  • Cognitive anxiety always detrimental to performance
  • Somatic - beneficial OR detrimental
  • Depends upon person
inverted u yerkes dodson 1908
Inverted-U (Yerkes & Dodson, 1908)
  • Arousal/performance relationship is curvilinear
  • Arousal level for maximal performance varies:
    • Task complexity
    • # of decisions/responses increases
inverted u theory
Inverted-U theory
  • Simpler tasks can be performed successfully under higher arousal levels than complex (examples?)
  • Importance of performer’s skill level
  • Klavora (1977); Sonstroem & Bernardo (1982)
inverted u problems
Inverted-U: Problems
  • Inability to precisely measure arousal
  • Equates anxiety with arousal
  • Circular reasoning
  • Overly simplistic
  • WHY??
  • Measurement issues: How much can arousal levels be increased--legally & ethically?
catastrophe theory hardy fazey 1987
Catastrophe Theory (Hardy & Fazey, 1987)
  • Questions idea that small changes to arousal = small changes in perf.
  • If anxiety/arousal reach debilitating levels, catastrophic results may occur (Greg Norman)
  • Cognitive vs. somatic anxiety differences
catastrophe theory
Catastrophe Theory
  • Cognitive anxiety is low, somatic & performance follow inverted-U
  • Cognitive anxiety high, somatic & performance are inverted-U to a point
  • What happens after the “catastrophe”?
catastrophe theory13
Catastrophe Theory
  • Research is supportive of this relationship, however…
  • Testing is difficult
  • Predictions?
zof hanin 1980
ZOF (Hanin, 1980)
  • Individual’s optimal pre-competition psychological profile in relation to anxiety
  • Too far from optimal = lower performance
  • Equivalent of individual’s optimal state anxiety score +/- .5 standard deviations (CSAI)
  • Weaker opponents?
slide15
ZOF
  • Each athlete has individual ZOF
  • Bandwidth of optimal function
  • Situational or personal factors (task type/athletic experience) cannot predict optimal zone
  • Cognitive anxiety or physiological ?
slide16
ZOF
  • Research generally supports
  • Better predictor than inverted-U
  • Problems
    • No explanation of how ZOF develops
    • Why are best performances more likely in optimal zone?
state of flow csikszentmihalyi
State of Flow (Csikszentmihalyi)
  • “Flow is a state of optimal experiencing involving total absorption in a task, and creating a state of consciousness where optimal levels of functioning often occur” (Jackson, 1995, p. 138)
  • Autotelic experience - an activity performed because it is it’s own reward
defining characteristics of flow
Defining Characteristics of Flow
  • Requirement of skill/challenge balance
  • Merging of action/awareness
  • Clearly defined goals
  • Clear, unambiguous feedback
  • Total concentration on skill being performed
defining characteristics of flow19
Defining Characteristics of Flow
  • Paradox of control
  • Loss of self-awareness
  • Loss of time awareness
  • Autotelic experience
  • Combination of emotional high and personal best performance
flow skill challenge relationship
Flow - Skill & Challenge Relationship
  • Flow = skilled but challenged
  • Anxiety = challenged, but fears level of skills
  • Apathy = low skill level, low challenge
  • Boredom = skilled, but unchallenging
can anxiety benefit performance
Can Anxiety Benefit Performance?
  • Most research suggests anxiety is detrimental to performance
  • Labeling of info is important
  • Muscle tension = preparedness?
  • “Concern about performing well”?
  • Imprecise measurement of what anxiety is for athletes