The Yerkes-Dodson curve shows the relationship between abilities and arousal.
- The Yerkes-Dodson law was originally intended to outline the relationship between habit formation and stimulus strength for tasks varying in discrimination difficultness. The following can be observed concerning the Yerkes-Dodson law :
- Drives may energize incorrect as well as correct habits in a challenging situation.
- Interfering drive-specific responses can also emerge at high drive levels.
- According to Zajonc’s theory of social facilitation, the presence of others would be detrimental for unfamiliar tasks.
- However, if arousal would strengthen dominant response tendencies while inhibiting the formation of new ones, the presence of others can facilitate the performance of well-rehearsed tasks.
- Easterbrook’s concept of relevant and irrelevant cues sheds light on the effects of arousal on performance and problem solving.
- Increased arousal results in the processing of fewer cues and the exclusion of irrelevant cues. However, it is possible to later lose even those cues relevant for the task.
- Optimal arousal might vary from task to task.
- High levels of arousal might hinder tasks requiring a wide range of peripheral cues or tasks requiring retrieval from memory.
- Performance on easy tasks seems to be unaffected by the strength of the stimulus. However, on difficult tasks, performance improves with the increasing strength of the stimulus.