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Nov 30 - arousal and anxiety.doc

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Physical Education and Sport
John Dunn

Nov 30 – Arousal And Anxiety How/Why Does Elevated arousal (and anxiety) influence performance? 1.) Muscle tension and coordination difficulties: Research example • There was a throwing task (10 balls to be thrown at 3 concentric circles) • There were high vs low trait anxiety male UCLA students • There was bogus “failure” feedback after 1 10 throws. In theory this should increase arousal levels and anxiety levels • Students then threw 10 more balls at targets • Measures: throwing performance and electrical activity on throwing muscles Results • High trait anxiety subjects had significantly poorer performance in comparison to low trait anxiety subjects after bogus feedback • High trait anxiety subjects 1.) had contracted muscles for longer duration (for an activity that is long, if your muscles are contracted longer, fatigue will set it) and 2.) had significantly more co-contraction of opposing muscle groups Involuntary co-contraction of muscle groups can be devastating in fine/complex motor skills (ex. The yips in putting) 2.) Attention/Concentration Changes • Pre-occupation with worries or somatic symptoms = inappropriate task focus • When we have increased arousal, we have changes in attentional control • Worry can lead to (or is a form of) “Cognitive Interference (CI) • Where Cognitive interference is defined as any thoughts that aren’t directly related to the process required for successful task execution • There is pre-occupation with consequences of failure. This will impede performance due to the lack of focus at the task at hand. • There are task-irrelevant thoughts (ex. I hate these butterflies in my stomach. Why am I so nervous?) • There are also thoughts of escape (I wish I could just go home) • Cognitive takes away your focus from the task at hand and this undermines performance 3Ps: Positive, Present, Process Present: we ask them to be here mentally Positive: we want them to think positive Process: we want them to focus on the proce
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