The Yerkes-Dodson curve shows the relationship between abilities and arousal.

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Total Support

  • 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 [1]:
    • 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.

Nuanced Support



Ayesh Perera