Nov 14 – Arousal, Stress, Anxiety (chapter 4)
Anything from motivation not tested yet is fair game for the final. Final is going to
be anything in perfectionism, arousal, stress, and anxiety, and aggression. So
basically anything from the last midterm until the end of the course.
1.) Arousal (Activation)
• Continuum of physiological and psychological activation (from deep sleep
with a relaxed low heart rate to extreme excitement/frenzy where our arousal
levels go through the roof)
• Symptoms: increased heart rate; increased respiratory rate: increased
adrenal flow; increased muscular “electrical potential” (+ “mind is racing”)
• Note: identical arousal (activation) levels can have completely different
affective meanings. Arousal levels can be the same but the affective level
arousal can be interpreted differently.
Positive and Negative Affective States
• Ex. Low arousal: I feel relaxed (positive affective state – used to describe our
• Ex of Low Arousal = I feel bored (negative affective state)
• High arousal: I feel excited (positive affect – you feel pumped up)
• Ex. High arousal: I feel scared (negative affect)
• Ex. High arousal: I feel angry (negative affect)
• There is an affective interpretation of arousal. We generally perceive arousal
as negative affect.
• Negative/unpleasant emotional/affective state
Anxiety is a multidimensional construct
2 key dimensions/components of anxiety are cognitive anxiety and
• Cognitive anxiety: worry, self-doubt, concern, apprehension • It is future oriented. Its anticipatory. It happens prior to competition.
• Even anxiety after a bad performance is associated with what will this
cost me in the future (ex. Will I get resigned?)
• Somatic Anxiety (emotionality): physiological symptoms associated
with “autonomic” nervous system (HR, respiration rate, sweating,
• Somatic anxiety is far more linked to arousal
• If we experience somatic anxiety, we are interpreting our increased HR
and butterflies in the tummy.
• Unstable/fluctuating emotional state “characterised by subjective,
consciously perceived feelings of apprehension and tension, accompanied by
or associated with activation.. of the autonomic nervous system (spielberger)
Perceived “Demands” of the Situation Influence A-state
• “situation criticality” – based on performers interpretation of how important it
is for you to succeed.
• Threat to (endangerment of) personally meaningful goals
• Ex. High ego/ low task (goal = favourable normative comparison), low
perceived ability (no “avoidance opportunity) = Increased Anxious state
Cognitive State Anxiety
• Intensity and frequency of momentary worries and concerns
Somatic State Anxiety
• Intensity and frequency of perceived unpleasant physiological response to
threatening situation • Ex. After sprinting 50 yards, my team is awarded a penalty kick which I will
take. If my HR is high, I can say its h