Woman Wearing Black Bra and White Tank Top Raising Both Hands on Top

Optimum Arousal Theory Examples

Optimum arousal theory says that people perform better when they’re at an optimal level of stimulation. It’s a little different than drive reduction theory, which is more focused on innate needs.

For example, studying for a test can help you learn more when your mental alertness is high. But if you overdo it, your performance will suffer.

Yerkes-Dodson Law

If you’ve ever noticed that you perform your best when you’re a little bit nervous, this is because of the Yerkes-Dodson law. Created by psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson in 1908, the law states that performance is best when an individual is feeling moderate amounts of stress or arousal. However, if an individual feels too much stress or arousal, they will begin to lose motivation and their performance will suffer. The opposite is also true, if an individual feels too little arousal or stress, they will be bored and may not perform well.

The law is based on a series of experiments that Yerkes and Dodson performed in their lab using rats. They found that they could motivate the rats to navigate a maze by administering small electrical shocks. As the level of shock increased, the rats would first engage with the task and then increase their speed in the maze. However, if the shocks became too intense, the rats would begin to scurry around in random directions and avoid the maze altogether.

Read more:  Cramping Pain During Arousal

Yerkes and Dodson drew their conclusions from the data, which shows that there is an optimal level of stress that increases arousal and motivation. Researchers have since discovered that the relationship between arousal and motivation differs depending on the complexity of the task at hand. While simple tasks require higher levels of arousal, complex or unfamiliar tasks benefit from lower levels of arousal to facilitate concentration and motivation.

Flow state

Flow state is an experience that occurs when you become fully engaged in a task. It is often a result of engaging in creative activities such as painting or writing, but it can also occur while playing sports or running. The flow state is associated with increased motivation and a sense of accomplishment. In addition, it can help people overcome anxiety and depression by increasing their level of self-control.

Research has shown that the optimal arousal level for performing a task is moderate. Too low arousal levels can lead to boredom and lack of focus, while too high arousal levels can cause stress and anxiety. Optimal arousal also depends on the complexity of the task; simple tasks require higher arousal levels, while complex tasks require lower arousal levels.

The arousal levels that are required for a person to perform well depend on the individual’s personality, temperament, and cognitive abilities. For example, introverts generally have a lower optimal arousal level than extroverts. However, the arousal level that is optimal for a person also changes depending on whether they are pursuing intrinsic or extrinsic motivation.

Read more:  Persistent Genital Arousal Disorder Male

Many people find it difficult to enter a flow state, especially when they are distracted or stressed. To reduce distractions, people can try going somewhere private, turning off their phones or blocking out a block of time on their calendar to work.

Introverts vs. Extroverts

Extroverts and introverts have very different preferences when it comes to interacting with others. These differences often cause conflict and misunderstandings in relationships. For example, an extrovert may think nothing of picking up the phone and ringing someone up for a chat, while an introvert would consider this very inappropriate.

One reason for this is that the two personality types have different optimal levels of arousal. In addition, they also respond differently to the same stimuli. This is the result of the Yerkes-Dodson law, which states that the level of stimulation required to feel motivated differs for each individual.

According to this theory, sensation seekers require more stimulation than other individuals to feel motivated. This explains why they prefer high-intensity activities like extreme sports and drugs. Research also shows that these individuals have a lower threshold for pain and are more likely to be involved in dangerous activities.

Introverts, on the other hand, have a higher threshold for pain and are less likely to be involved in dangerous activities. They are also more likely to be interested in other people’s experiences and enjoy bonding with their friends. They are empathetic with their friends and have a deep desire to understand them in the same way that they reflect on their own experiences. This is why they are good listeners and make good companions.

Read more:  Male Arousal During Colonoscopy


For optimal performance, individuals must find the right balance of arousal and motivation. This can be achieved by using relaxation techniques, cognitive reframing, or adjusting the task environment. Moreover, the level of arousal required for a given task depends on its complexity and difficulty. A simple and well-practiced task may require higher arousal levels, while a complex and novel task may benefit from lower arousal levels to promote greater focus and learning.

Another important aspect of the optimal arousal theory is that each individual has a unique level of mental alertness called the optimal threshold. If this threshold is exceeded, it will decrease motivation and performance. On the other hand, if the optimal threshold is too low, it will make a person feel demotivated.

For example, a person who is too bored to care about taking an AP psychology exam will feel less motivated to study for it. This is because they are below their optimal threshold of arousal. On the other hand, a person who is overly anxious to take a test will be over their optimal threshold and will perform poorly. This is because they will be distracted by their fears and worries. The AP psych class you are in will likely cover other motivation theories in addition to the Yerkes-Dodson law, so make sure to learn about them as well.