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Extensions of drive theory take into account levels of arousal as potential motivators. As you recall from your study of learning, these theories assert that there is an optimal level of arousal that we all try to maintain ( [link] ). If we are underaroused, we become bored and will seek out some sort of stimulation. On the other hand, if we are overaroused, we will engage in behaviors to reduce our arousal (Berlyne, 1960). Most students have experienced this need to maintain optimal levels of arousal over the course of their academic career. Think about how much stress students experience toward the end of spring semester. They feel overwhelmed with seemingly endless exams, papers, and major assignments that must be completed on time. They probably yearn for the rest and relaxation that awaits them over the extended summer break. However, once they finish the semester, it doesn’t take too long before they begin to feel bored. Generally, by the time the next semester is beginning in the fall, many students are quite happy to return to school. This is an example of how arousal theory works.

A line graph has an x-axis labeled “arousal level” with an arrow indicating “low” to “high” and a y-axis labeled “performance quality” with an arrow indicating “low” to “high.” A curve charts optimal arousal. Where arousal level and performance quality are both “low,” the curve is low and labeled “boredom or apathy.” Where arousal level is “medium” and “performance quality is “medium,” the curve peaks and is labeled “optimal level.” Where the arousal level is “high” and the performance quality is “low,” the curve is low and is labeled “high anxiety.”
The concept of optimal arousal in relation to performance on a task is depicted here. Performance is maximized at the optimal level of arousal, and it tapers off during under- and overarousal.

So what is the optimal level of arousal? What level leads to the best performance? Research shows that moderate arousal is generally best; when arousal is very high or very low, performance tends to suffer (Yerkes&Dodson, 1908). Think of your arousal level regarding taking an exam for this class. If your level is very low, such as boredom and apathy, your performance will likely suffer. Similarly, a very high level, such as extreme anxiety, can be paralyzing and hinder performance. Consider the example of a softball team facing a tournament. They are favored to win their first game by a large margin, so they go into the game with a lower level of arousal and get beat by a less skilled team.

But optimal arousal level is more complex than a simple answer that the middle level is always best. Researchers Robert Yerkes (pronounced “Yerk-EES”) and John Dodson discovered that the optimal arousal level depends on the complexity and difficulty of the task to be performed ( [link] ). This relationship is known as Yerkes-Dodson law    , which holds that a simple task is performed best when arousal levels are relatively high and complex tasks are best performed when arousal levels are lower.

A line graph has an x-axis labeled “arousal level” with an arrow indicating “low” to “high” and a y-axis labeled “performance quality” with an arrow indicating “low” to “high.” Two curves charts optimal arousal, one for difficult tasks and the other for easy tasks. The optimal level for easy tasks is reached with slightly higher arousal levels than for difficult tasks.
Task performance is best when arousal levels are in a middle range, with difficult tasks best performed under lower levels of arousal and simple tasks best performed under higher levels of arousal.

Self-efficacy and social motives

Self-efficacy is an individual’s belief in her own capability to complete a task, which may include a previous successful completion of the exact task or a similar task. Albert Bandura (1994) theorized that an individual’s sense of self-efficacy plays a pivotal role in motivating behavior. Bandura argues that motivation derives from expectations that we have about the consequences of our behaviors, and ultimately, it is the appreciation of our capacity to engage in a given behavior that will determine what we do and the future goals that we set for ourselves. For example, if you have a sincere belief in your ability to achieve at the highest level, you are more likely to take on challenging tasks and to not let setbacks dissuade you from seeing the task through to the end.

Questions & Answers

I was recently diagnosed schizophrenic. after a lifetime of major depression. time I did hear voices not for long. how does one know if they really schizophrenic?
Cathy Reply
because psychology is the dissection and study of the mind, some find it hard to believe a diagnosis under mental health concerns. if you feel you have been misdiagnosed, go to another doctor. be 100% honest in all questions asked. to lie to your doctor is much like lying to yourself/hurting self
on the contrary, a diagnosed schizophrenic doesn't always have episodes. it may start off very mild and progress over time. it may also be triggered by events/situations/certain states of mind the patient may experience
diagnosed schizophrenics are normally prescribed a medication that can help. if you feel your medication is not working, or that it may make matters worse, discuss this with your doctor so he/she can make adjustments. what works for one person may not work for them all, and so doctors need to know
please whats the answer
Fortune Reply
answer to what?
Gaunt
what is mean by what?
Mohammad
to the questions ooo i can't find the answers
Fortune
Can you repeat the question or comment the page you saw it?
Haim
why they named it psychology
zayn Reply
telll me
ABDUL
the word "psychology" comes from the Greek words "psyche" meaning life and "logos" meaning "explanation".
Soma
Psyche, in Greek mythology was a goddess who comes to represent the human soul's triumph over the misfortunes of life. The term psychology was coined. Psyche, meaning soul or mind and the root "ology" meaning the study of. I hope this helped.
JC
well done
ABDUL
what is chunking
Ritika Reply
Chunking is a process by which individual pieces of an information set are broken down and then grouped together in a meaningful whole.
Azquan
chunking is to information as syllabus is to word
ABDUL
what dose it means, operant and classic conditioning in short words?
Mikiyas Reply
scientific method, critical thinking.
jeddy Reply
the dealings with the thought process and human behavior.
jeddy
for acquiring knowledge by experimentation.
jeddy
study scientific study of mind and behavior.
jeddy
scientific study of the human mind and behavior.
jeddy
hey jeddy I have question s for you
Yussuf
hi what is behavioralism ?
jusem
what is psychology..?
Ania
the science of mental life.
Mikiyas
it focuses on understanding and modifying human behaviour
ABDUL
because emotion can't be measured.
marikrizz Reply
only by the person having the emotion.
Jason
it is subjective feeling
suman
only placed within levels of itself
Teena
and accepted as extended or beginning versions of emotions that are completely free of restrictions
Teena
anyone know, (2+2)/2
start
Emotions can't be measured, but they can be recognized. To be able to recognize certain characteristics that'll give me an idea about an individual's state of mind.
jeddy
any one knows (2+2)/2
start
it is 6
suman
anyone (2+2)/2
start
2
fadil
😂
suman
then more then just recognize but to comprehend the emotions being observed separating your own emotions from the situation currently in.. and rationally gaging the environment.. while then pulling each possible emotional vibe or energy exerted from the human being observed
Teena
How does learning influence behaviour
Tumpa Reply
our choice of study molds us and encourages us to practice what we learn. social structure also changes behavior based on the environment and peers. how we learn can be experimental as not everyone lesrns the same. some are more of a hands-on absorber, whereas others may learn better from listening
A confidence from personal knowledge. Not from having been taugbt. knowledge that you learned what was taught.
jeddy
life is choice, be ready for the best and be prepare for what yet to come in your way(Destiny)
Wayne
what is development
Momna Reply
In what Context are you referring to
Hassan
the progression/degression/growth of something. it is interpreted most commonly in psychology as how something is created or formed. ex: When did you develop an interest in psychology?
when refering to physical, cognitive, and social development, these types of development are determined by many circumstances. such as demographics, biology, and personality/character
it is the apprehensions fluency based by the process of configurations to a design based on product/witness series noticeboards to note the stats on order to retail agreements on stated series order.
Kay
Evolving
jeddy
I'm on my first year of a psychology course, is there anything I should know? anything you wished you knew when you just started psychology ? because I feel like I'm walking into all of this blindly
Lia Reply
hello
GOPAL
I feel exactly the same. Just about to start Psychology and Criminology. feeling slightly nervous 🙈
Sarah
and everything is online
Lia
only for a few weeks I believe. Unless I have read it wrong. I believe that they will try and filter everyone in.
Sarah
it's different for every country
Lia
hi
GOPAL
I start 9/14. Online as well.
LaQuisha
I know very little about Psychology
GOPAL
which area are you specialising in
Elle
yeah, everthing your just know, that psychology is everthing come out with, mind, behavior and emotion. and believe, once you study it, you will understand, wjy people act like that.
EDWARD
Don't be in the class with pre notions.. yh
ABDUL
after a successful job interview,Mr.Abhishek felt relaxed and calm,he stopped sweating and felt hungry,which part of his nervous system was activated
Babaljeet Reply
Hypothalamus
Words
what is the Borysenko model and why is it important?
Sarah
It explains the link between stress and diseases ie.. How long term stress on the mind or body can lead to chronic migraines, ulcers, depression...
Jennifer
I understand there is a link between stress and illness and disease. that when you are in high-stress situations for prolonged periods of time that the brain releases an abundance of stress hormones such as epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol, and aldosterone. idk anymore than that.
Sarah
what is the strees anger
Divya
what is difference between illness and disease
Umair
anyone knows (2+2)/2
start
Hy everybody any one who can help me to understand the concept of Structuralism in easy words?
sabiha Reply
If you really considered looking into yourself find the reason of the possibilities or the environment and atmosphere in which you're placed with or without choice in voluntary or involuntary from birth to now, and also consider all existential extensions of yourself including spiritual recognition.
Darling
? and compare them to social,judicial, learned events,experiences, influences and dive into there branches? somehow reflects our mechanic motivations and has an effect on who we are and what we represent. ?😲
Darling
critical evaluation on attitude change and formation those that even exist
COMORDOR
who is considered of a father of psychology
Satyendra Reply
Freud
Lithemba
Immanuel Kant: Critique of Pure Reason.
David
wundt
Namrata
Wundt
Disha
wundt
NishaOfficial
wundt
Naheed
wundt
Jasmine
id say freud but wundt continued his work. let's face it without freud there wouldn't be a psychology practices
Michelle
Freud is considered as the father of Psychoanalysis not psychology
Indefatigable
technically Freud would be the father of psychology because he discovered the id ego and super ego
Bryce
Its kind of a loaded question. There are many early greats in psychology each having their own theories and views. I think it is more of a collective of ideals that make up our current view and understanding of psychology.
Jason
I agree with you Jason. there are Amazing psychologist back then that made the foundation for the field of psychology
Bryce
Wilhelm Winston ryt
Faazi
Wundt
Waris
i agree to you Jason
Welli
is there any name for the fear of dying painfully? is it the same as thanatophobia?
Matthew Reply
hello matthew i am new
Barbara
who is reinhart
Hannah Reply
hello, why are you asking me this?
She
hello, how are you?
Corey
hey Corey, all fine, how are you doing?
She
Hello everyone
Indefatigable
hello
Hannah
Which specialization in psychology interest you? why?
Ailyn
hello, hannah, I'm fine thanks and how are you?
Corey
or she
Corey
hello hannah and corey
Barbara

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Source:  OpenStax, Psychology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 03, 2015 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11629/1.5
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