Psych M.D. - Arousal Theory


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Term: Arousal Theory
Definition (Myers): There are two parts to the arousal theory: (1) "Our biological rhythms cycle through times of arousal" and "some motivated behaviors increase arousal" support the theory that everybody has different optimal stimulation level. (2) We usually perform better when we feel moderately aroused, the level of arousal for optimal performance varies for different tasks. 1
Definition (alternative): Arousal theory is based on the ideas that different individuals perform better at different levels of arousal and that every individual seeks to find its optimal level. 2
Contextual explanation: The first part of arousal theory states every individual has different optimal stimulation level. Simply put, this means individuals are aroused by different levels of arousal. For example, some people find themselves mostly aroused by just playing golf, a fairly low optimal stimuli, while some people might find themselves mostly aroused when skydiving or rock-climbing, a fairly high optimal stimuli. The second part of the arousal theory states that we perform better at certain optimal levels depending on the task. Specifically, for easy tasks, performance level peaks at higher levels of arousal. For difficult tasks, it peaks at lower levels of arousal. For example, you toast a bread, a fairly easy task, the best when you are very aroused. You take an AP Calc or in fact any AP test, a hard task, the best when your arousal level is moderate. 1
Related terms and concepts: insert links to other pages on The Neuron here
Skydiving3
http://nkammer.aupairnews.com/2009/05/26/ap-may-meeting-skydive-elsinore/

4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk_lzwkrv5s
Arousal level for simple tasks5

http://www.goju.com.au/graphics/graph1.gif

Arousal level for complex tasks5
(same sources for the two graphs above)
http://www.goju.com.au/graphics/graph2.gif

Comparison of the arousal level for two different tasks6
http://www.s-cool.co.uk/assets/learn_its/gcse/pe/sports-psychology/other-psychological-aspects/arousal2.jpg


Related websites: insert links to external websites here
Sources: insert WAPA style citations here
  1. Myers, D. G. (2004). Psychology. New York, New York: Worth Publishers.
  2. Washer, R. (n.d.). Arousal theory. Retrieved from http://academics.tjhsst.edu/psych/oldPsych/ch9-2/aro.htm
  3. Kammer, N. (2009, May 26). Skydive - elsinore. Retrieved from http://nkammer.aupairnews.com/2009/05/26/ap-may-meeting-skydive-elsinore/
  4. skateboard, Initials. (2009, November 1). Ryan shcekcler vs the mega ramp. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hk_lzwkrv5s
  5. McCollen-Brown, L. (1992, May 30). Anxiety in karate. Retrieved from http://www.goju.com.au/lincoln_anxiety.htm
  6. (2000). Motivation: arousal. Retrieved from http://www.s-cool.co.uk/gcse/pe/sports-psychology/other-psychological-aspects.html
Edited by: Elaine
Date of last edit: November 5, 2009



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