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Arousal / Stress / Social Facilitation

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Stuart Wright

on 13 February 2014

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Transcript of Arousal / Stress / Social Facilitation

Exam mark scheme

- improve selective attention
- cut out distractors / learn skill / increase experience of distractors
- focus on task / mental rehearshal
- control arousal levels
Exam Q

Recent research has shown that distraction has a major impact from an audience watching a an elite performer. How could a performer reduce these effects?
Exam Q-

Some weightlifters appear to perform well in front of an audience, while others seem
to perform badly, ‘choking’ under the pressure. Use social facilitation theory to
explain this observation.

Mark scheme
1. theory from Zajonc;
2. presence of audience causes increased arousal;
3. increased drive means performer tries harder;
4. effects depend on stage of learning;
5. early/cognitive stage – negative effects;
6. performer not fully developed appropriate response to demands;
7. later/associative/autonomous stages – performance enhanced by presence of audience;
8. if skill performance at a high level- enhancement;
9. enhancement effect more likely if simple task;
10. impairment effect more likely if complex task;
11. Negaitve effect enhanced if thought to be judged;
12. Evaluation apprehension; max of 7 marks

Social Facilitation / Stress and Anxiety
Self-confidence – person’s belief that they have the ability to succeed in particular situation

Self-efficacy – situation specific self-confidence; expectation of success and good performance in specific sporting situation

Performance Accomplishments

Past performances - most effective cause of self-efficacy
Success at more difficult task enhances self-efficacy at easier one
Early success better than initial failure
Independent success better than supported success

Vicarious Experiences

Watching others succeed
Hence value of demonstrations
Success of others reduces anxiety
Better if model is peer
Not as good as performance accomplishments

Verbal Persuasion

Encouraging others that success is possible
Weaker than previous two
Needs credible persuader

Emotional Arousal

Performers interpretation of own arousal
Over-arousal hinders self-efficacy
Requirement for anxiety-reducing techniques


Efficacy Expectations
Learned helplessness
Dweck (1975) Expectation of failure – failure inevitable even if success possible

Global / General – all sports or types
Specific – one specific activity

Increasing Self Efficacy
Performance accomplishments - success from previous performances
avoid failure this can hinder self efficacy;
organise successful events;
vicarious experience - watching successful performances (similar standard has more impact)
verbal persuasion - positive feedback from coach
positive self talk
emotional arousal - positive perceptions of arousal positively
Goal setting
Attribute success internally


- too much negative feedback
- goal setting too outcome orientated
- extrnal attributions for success
Probably the most important psychological factor at elite level.

High self efficacy - work harder / perservere

Low Self efficacy - walk away / give up
Full transcript