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ALTERNATIVES TO INVERTED-U THEORY:Apterís Reversal Theory

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Sport Psychology(psy407)
VU
Lesson 20
ALTERNATIVES TO INVERTED-U THEORY
In the previous lecture we learned that inverted-U theory is the primary theory used by sport psychologists to
explain the relationship between anxiety and performance. However, sports psychologists have turned to other
more complex theories to explain this relationship. It is believed by many psychologists that the inverted-U
theory is a simple theory that does not capture or explain the complexities of the anxiety-performance
relationship. In this lecture we look at alternatives to inverted-U theory.
There are five anxiety-performance theories that we will discuss:
Martins' Multidimensional Anxiety Theory
Fazey and Hardy's Catastrophe Theory,
Hanin's Individual Zone of Optimal Functioning Theory
Jones' Directionality Theory
Apter's Reversal Theory
Martens' Multidimensional Anxiety Theory
Multidimensional Anxiety Theory is based upon the notion that anxiety is multidimensional in nature,
composed of a cognitive anxiety component and a somatic anxiety component.
Multidimensional theory specifically hypothesizes two things (1) a negative linear relationship exists between
cognitive state anxiety and athletic performance, and (2) An inverted-U relationship exits between somatic
anxiety and performance. According to the mulitidimentional theory, in the case of cognitive state anxiety, as
anxiety increase, athletic performance begins to deteriorate. But, in the case of somatic state anxiety, as anxiety
increase athletic performance increases to a certain level, and after a certain level athletic performace begins to
drop. Somatic state anxiety forms an inverted U-shape.
Fazey and Hardy's Catastrophe Theory
The basic assumptions of the Inverted-U theory are that (a) small incremental increases in arousal result in small
incremental increases or decreases in performance, and (b) moderate arousal results in optimal performance.
The Catastrophe Theory questions both these notions.
The basic variables of the model includes cognitive anxiety, physiological arousal (not somatic anxiety), and
performance. The theory suggests that the relationship between physiological arousal and athletic performance
is believed to take the form of the inverted-U when cognitive anxiety is low, but to take a very different form
when cognitive anxiety increases. At a high level of cognitive anxiety, performance increases gradually as in the
inverted-U, but at some points as psychological arousal continues to rise, performance will show a catastrophic
drop-off. In other words, if cognitive state anxiety is high, an increase in physiological arousal can result in a
sudden and large decrement in athletic performance.
The basic tenets of Fazey and Hardy's catastrophe model were tested by Hardy and Parfitt (1991) and Hardy
Parfitt, and Pates (1994), and both of these studies provided strong support for the basic tenets of catastrophe
theory.
Hanin's Individual Zone of Optimal Functioning (IZOF) Theory
The individual zone of optimal functioning (IZOF) was developed by Yuri Hanin (1989). This theory also
questions the two basic assumptions of inverted-U theory, but more specifically the notion that a moderate level
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Sport Psychology(psy407)
VU
of state anxiety results in best performance. IZOF theory postulates that the level of optimal state
anxiety best for one athlete may be different from that optimal for the next athlete. Thus, for some
athletes, the optimal level of state anxiety was very low, while for others it was very high.
In IZOF theory an optimal level of precompetitive state anxiety is identified and a narrow band of
anxiety functioning created around it. The band of optimal functioning is generally considered to be the
optimal level of anxiety. If the athlete's anxiety level stays within the IZOF, he will perform well, but if
the level is outside the band, his performance will deteriorate. Individual zone of optimal theory is a
viable theory for explaining the anxiety-performance relationship. An athlete will perform best if his
state anxiety is within a certain zone of optimal functioning.
Strong support for the concept of an individual zone of optimal functioning (IZOF) has been reported
by Prapavessis and Grove (1991), Raglin and Turner (1993), and Turner and Raglin (1996). In each of
the case, the results favored IZOF theory.
Jones' Directionality Theory
Jones (1991) posits that the absolute intensity of anxiety was not nearly so important as the athlete's
perception of whether his anxiety intensity was facilitative or debilitative relative to a subsequent
competitive event. In simpler words, an athlete's perception of how intensity affects performance is
more important than the intensity itself. Jones labeled this facilitative or debilitative perception the
direction component of anxiety.
Therefore, according to the directional theory, the important question is not whether an athlete has a
high or low level of anxiety, but whether he perceives that this specific level will help him perform
better. The application of directionality theory in sport is illustrated in two studies reported by Hanton
and Jones (1999a, 1999b).
Apter's Reversal Theory
Reversal theory, as proposed by Apter (1982), has characteristics associated with both drive and
inverted-U theory. it is as much a theory of personality as it is a theory of arousal. Individuals are
described as being either telic or paratelic dominant. Telic-dominant individuals have a goal-directed
orientation towards life, while paratelic-dominant individuals are fun-loving and have a "here-and-now"
orientation. While in a telic frame of mind, the athlete seeks to reduce the level of arousal in order to
bring about a state of relaxation. While in a paratelic frame of mind, the athlete seeks to increase arousal
in order to increase excitement. The individual's ability to switch back and forth between telic and
paratelic modes is referred to as psychological reversal.
References
Cox, H. Richard. (2002). Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications. (Fifth Edition). New York:
McGraw-Hill Companies
Lavallec. D., Kremer, J., Moran, A., & Williams. M. (2004) Sports Psychology: Contemporary Themes.
New York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers
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Table of Contents:
  1. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY DEFINED:Issue of Certification, The Research Sport Psychologist
  2. SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Successful Performance, Verbal persuasion
  3. SELECTING SELF-TALK STATEMENTS:Skill accusation, Controlling effort
  4. GOAL ORIENTATION:Goal Involvement, Motivational Climate
  5. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION IN SPORT:Fritz Heiderís Contribution, Other Considerations
  6. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTIONS IN COMPETITIVE SITUATIONS:Locus of Causality
  7. MOTIVATION IN SPORT:Social Factors, Success and Failure, Coachesí Behavior
  8. FLOW: THE PSYCHOLOGY OF OPTIMAL EXPERIENCE, Goal Setting in Sport
  9. PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING:Clearly identify time constraints
  10. A TEAM APPROACH TO SETTING GOALS:The Planning Phase, The Meeting Phase
  11. YOUTH SPORT:Distress and anxiety, Coach-Parent Relationships
  12. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Information Processing, Memory Systems
  13. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Measuring Attentional Focus
  14. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Personality Defined, Psychodynamic Theory
  15. THE MEASUREMENT OF PERSONALITY:Projective Procedures, Structured Questionnaire
  16. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Athletic Motivation Inventory, Personality Sport Type
  17. SITUATIONAL FACTORS RELATED TO ANXIETY AND MOOD:Type of Sport
  18. ANXIETY, AROUSAL, AND STRESS RELATIONSHIPS:Emotion and Mood
  19. ANXIETY, AROUSAL, AND STRESS RELATIONSHIPS:The Inverted-U Theory
  20. ALTERNATIVES TO INVERTED-U THEORY:Apterís Reversal Theory
  21. COPING STRATEGIES IN SPORT:Measurement of Coping Skill
  22. RELAXATION STRATEGIES FOR SPORT:Progressive Relaxation, Autogenic Training
  23. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Team Energizing Strategies, Fan Support
  24. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Precompetition Workout, Individual Goal Setting
  25. IMAGERY:Skill Level of the Athletes, Time Factors and Mental Practice
  26. IMAGERY:Symbolic Learning Theory, Imagery Perspective. Sensory Mode
  27. IMAGERY:Paivioís Two-Dimensional Model, Developing Imagery Skills
  28. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Defining Hypnosis, Social-Cognitive Theory
  29. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Achieving the Hypnotic Trance, Hypnotic Phase
  30. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Psychological Skills Training Program
  31. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Performance profiling, Performance routines
  32. ETHICS IN SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Competence, Integrity, Social Responsibility
  33. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:Defining Aggression, Catharsis hypothesis
  34. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:The Catharsis Effect, Fan Violence
  35. AUDIENCE AND CROWD EFFECTS IN SPORTS:Social Facilitation, Crowd Hostility
  36. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Measurement of Team Cohesion
  37. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Predicting Future Participation, Team Building
  38. LEADERSHIP IN SPORT:Fiedlerís Contingency Theory, Coach-Athlete Compatibility
  39. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Special Populations, Clinical Patients
  40. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Social Interaction Hypothesis, Amine Hypothesis
  41. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:The Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Cognitive Theory
  42. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Exercise Addiction, Bulimia Nervosa, Muscle Dysmorphia
  43. BURNOUT IN ATHLETES:Overtraining and Overreaching, Recommended Intervention
  44. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ATHLETIC INJURIES:Personality Factors, Coping Resources
  45. DRUG ABUSE IN SPORT AND EXERCISE:Stimulants, Depressants