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The Effects of Elevated Arousal and Mood on Maximal Strength Performance in Athletes


Perkins, DN and Wilson, GV and Kerr, JH, The Effects of Elevated Arousal and Mood on Maximal Strength Performance in Athletes, Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, 13, (3) pp. 239-259. ISSN 1041-3200 (2001) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1080/104132001753144392


Optimal arousal models contend that high arousal contributes to inhibited athletic performance, whereas there is reversal theory research which indicates that high positive arousal may enhance performance. To test these claims, 22 male and 6 female elite athletes were induced into high arousal telic (goal-directed) and high arousal paratelic (non goal-directed, process focussed) motivational states and tested on a standard hand strength task. Personalized guided imagery techniques and paced breathing were used to change psychological and physiological arousal. Significant increases in strength performance occurred when arousal was high and experienced as pleasant excitement in the paratelic condition (i.e., high positive arousal). Heart rate and other indicators of parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous system activity were not found to mediate between psychological arousal and performance. Where athletic performance requires maximal motor strength over a short period, performance benefits of high arousal may be maximized by restructuring motivational state.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Cognitive and computational psychology
Research Field:Sensory processes, perception and performance
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in psychology
UTAS Author:Perkins, DN (Mr Douglas Perkins)
UTAS Author:Wilson, GV (Dr George Wilson)
ID Code:21250
Year Published:2001
Web of Science® Times Cited:42
Deposited By:Psychology
Deposited On:2001-08-01
Last Modified:2002-07-09

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