Inverted U Hypothesis Essay

Download this Essay in word format (.doc)

Note: Sample below may appear distorted but all corresponding word document files contain proper formatting

Excerpt from Essay:


It has been established that competitive state-anxiety normally follows a certain pattern of one-sided feelings of anxiety as well as inadequacy that combines with increased arousal of automatic nervous system (Fazey, 2008). Accordingly, the theory of Inverted U. hypothesis was formulated to explain this aspect, and it is widely applied in sports psychology. Inverted U. hypothesis a theory that suggest that there is a relative amount of anxiety and arousal that triggers one to perform higher- extremely little arousal or anxiety and too much arousal or anxiety will lead to poorer performance. This present paper briefly discusses the Inverted U. hypothesis in sports psychology.


Until presently, the traditional Inverted theory had been the key model employed by sports psychologists to explain the arousal-performance relationship. Nevertheless, various sport psychology researchers have criticized this relationship, and the modern trend is a change towards a higher multidimensional perspective of arousal-anxiety and its impacts on performance (Fazey, 2008).

The inverted U. hypothesis is applied in sports which suggest that performance enhances as levels of arousal rise to a peak point, beyond which it reduces. In other words, this implies that minimal excitement and stress related to performing in public or competition can have positive impacts, but a condition that is extremely stressful is detrimental. Similarly, the optimum levels differ between individuals doing the same activity and for the same individual doing different activities (Pascazzi, 2005). Optimum levels of arousal tend to be reduced for highly complicated functions.

Additionally, the theory states that performance enhances with high levels of arousal up to a peak point beyond which additional arousal produce a detrimental impact on performance (Fazey, 2008, p234). Therefore, athletes or people in sports may perform poorly because they are under or over aroused. The theory is qualitative and thus, does not try to qualify the linkage between performance and arousal. The basic principle of the theory is that arousal or anxiety is one-dimensional, and there is, as a result, a difference between arousal indicators; this is not always the case.

Competitive state-anxiety mainly follows a series of subjective inadequacy and tension feelings, combined with heightened autonomic nervous system arousal. The duration and intensity of anxious state alternates depending on the amount of depressing stimuli the athlete is exposed to, and the duration of subjected threat generated by the stimuli. Initially, it was believed that the relationship between arousal and performance was a complex Inverted U. theory, for instance, the best performance can be achieved with an average level of arousal. This is to mean that extremely low arousal level or extremely high arousal level results to poor performance (Schnabely and Wagner, 2008).

One of the earliest approaches that tried to explain the connection between performance and arousal was the Inverted U. theory. The hypothesis states that increased arousal led to increased performance, but if arousal heightens, performance deteriorates. This is to say that, as stress starts to build a person still feels courageous in his capacity to control it and thus, performance improves. Moreover, if the stressor became extremely influential, an athlete begins to doubt his capability to cope with it, and thus performance declines. Even though, this theory provided some reasons as to why performance declined when athletes felt stress, the theory failed to account for variations in athletes' performance when exposed to similar stressor (Reeve, 2008).

Researchers tried to account for variations in performance of people through the concept of IZOFs (individualized zones or areas of optimal functioning). According to the theory, each person has a peak pre-performance anxiety level. However, if an individual's pre-performance anxiety occurs outside the IZOF area, whether too low of too high, the performance declines. IZOF is determined by frequently measuring performance and anxiety or through recall of anxiety level of an athlete before the peak performance.

In fact, researchers suggest that IZOFs are significant predictors of performance than the inverted U. theory. Although this is a useful model than the inverted U. theory, it still does not explain the main factors that account for personal variations in performance among athletes, (Vestman and Eden, 1992).

Some researchers suggest that the observed difference between unsuccessful and successful athletes may result from athlete's cognitive interpretation or perception of their states of anxiety. According to reversal hypothesis arousal is described in numerous ways depending on the athlete's present state. In a state of telic, athletes concentrate on a goal, therefore, interpret the resulting arousal as anxiety. On the contrary, paratelic suggests performers concentrate on their behaviour and thus interpret their resulting arousal as excitement.

People can shift from one state to another faster and therefore, shift the interpretation, of the arousal or anxiety, they experience which, as a result affect, their performance. This theory tries to incorporate both cognitive and physiological aspects in its explanation of the linkage between anxiety and performance, but does not describe their relationship with performance (Reeve, 2000).

Multidimensional theory of anxiety enhanced the reversal hypothesis inclusion of physiological and cognitive factors. In this approach, cognitive anxiety (the primary tenet, which is concerned with impacts of failure), had indicated a negative linear connection with the performance. Similarly, self-confidence (a distinct cognitive aspect) has been found to show a positive linear connection with the performance.

Researchers suggest that competitive anxiety state is higher for amateur athletes in individual sports as compared to team sport athletes. Additionally, players in individual non-contact sport activities have reported reduced anxiety state levels than players in individual contact sports (Fazey, 2008).

Cognitive anxiety exerts a strong impact on performance; this statement is considered to be practical irrespective of the skill level of an individual. Performers in a collegiate football activity were assigned into one of two situations: low situation criticality of high. Whereas somatic anxiety did not vary in the two conditions, athletes in the high criticality situations had higher cognitive anxiety levels.

In addition, the cognitive interpretation a person gives to a situation causes an impact. Researchers have indicated that successful athletes interpret arousal to mean facilitative. A study conducted with an elite team of swimmers found out that intensity levels of anxiety were higher in participants who described their anxiety as deliberative than participants who interpreted their anxiety as facilitative (Pascazzi, 2005).

The observation has proved to be true of basketball and gymnasts. Some researchers have reported that the largest cognitive anxiety predictor to be the years of experience in that the more experience a person had the lower the cognitive anxiety level. This was confirmed by a study conducted with a team of tennis players. Similarly, advanced subjects (participants who had been taking part in sports for a prolonged period of time) indicated intensive facilitative anxiety interpretation than novices. Also, similar outcomes have been reported among categories of elite swimmers perhaps this is as a result of previous experience with coping mechanisms and arousal.

The amount of self-confidence shown by a participant has been found to vary among the novice and elite athletes. A study with a team of tennis players revealed that the experienced performers had significantly increased higher self-confidence levels. The self-confidence indicator as identified by the study is external conditions and perception of preparedness. Further, other researchers reveal that the principal indicator of self-confidence among players is the ability than participants believed they had (Fazey, 2008).

Self-confidence accounts for the largest proportion of difference in performance than somatic or cognitive anxiety, this implies that the most basic quality that elite players have is an increased level of self-confidence which in return may serve as a protective aspect from cognitive anxiety.

Even though, a study conducted focusing on self-confidence and cognitive anxiety provided significant insights into the impact on athletic function, the interaction of such variables with somatic anxiety offers a critical understanding of the true impacts.

A study done by Pascazzi (2005)…[continue]

Cite This Essay:

"Inverted U Hypothesis" (2012, June 14) Retrieved December 10, 2016, from

"Inverted U Hypothesis" 14 June 2012. Web.10 December. 2016. <>

"Inverted U Hypothesis", 14 June 2012, Accessed.10 December. 2016,

Other Documents Pertaining To This Topic

  • Corporate Governance as Some Queries About Corporate

    Corporate Governance As some queries about corporate governance were there ever since 1932 - the period of Berle and Means, the expression of the concept of Corporate Governance was not found in English vocabulary until 25 years ago. However, in the previous two decades, matters relating to corporate governance have gained importance in academic literature as well as in public policy deliberations. Corporate governance came to be acknowledged as being synonymous

  • Gender Age Educational Level &

    A significant amount of the early cross-sectional studies with the DIT examined the developmental indexes of age and education (Rest, et al., 1999). Based on this prior research resulting in 5,714 participants, Rest (1979) reported that the typical DIT score increases every time the level of education increases. In fact the author concluded that Moral judgment was more highly correlated to education than was age. As such, with prior research

  • International Joint Ventures and Alliances

    The study also found that there is an inflexion point of IJV shared performance in industries that have initially large technology gaps. As emerging firms approach greater parity of technology use, closing the gap with their peers and the IJV partner, the greater the reliance and dependence on the IJV partner becomes. The two hypotheses of the study theorize that there is an inverted U-shaped curve of influence between IJV

  • Hotel Benefits Programs Benefits Programs

    Sunmee Choi & Anna S. Mattila (Cornell Hotel & Restaurant Administration Quarterly): The impact that a hotel can have on customers by sharing a frank and specific list of pricing practices ("revenue management" [RM]) is significant, according to a peer-reviewed journal article published in 2005. Choi & Mattila conducted a study of 120 travelers (all waiting for flights from Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.), providing them with three distinctly

  • Born to Be Big Childhood

    People can exercise their free choice at the grocery store by choosing organic foods, although because of generally higher costs of organic products, this will not be a solution for everyone. People in lower socioeconomic groups often get food at discount chains or even food pantries where organics are not even a choice at all. There is no incentive for makers of agricultural chemicals to modify their products in response

  • Promising Phenomenon That Lends Itself

    66). Furthermore, social software will only increase in importance in helping organizations maintain and manage their domains of knowledge and information. When networks are enabled and flourish, their value to all users and to the organization increases as well. That increase in value is typically nonlinear, where some additions yield more than proportionate values to the organization (McCluskey and Korobow, 2009). Some of the key characteristics of social software applications

  • Geology of Little Killary Killary

    Some of the grains weather to a pale green colour. In thin section, quartz is the major grain type (~50%) with some microcline (~5%) and some rock fragments (~1%) all in a fine matrix which consists of quartz and/or feldspar, mica and some calcite cement. The majority of the grains have a red-brown altered rim. The rock fragments are possibly reworked sediments" (p. 13). Lettergesh Analysis by Farrell indicates that this

Read Full Essay
Copyright 2016 . All Rights Reserved