Yerkes Dodson Law Inverted U Theory: Influencers and Components

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The Inverted-U Theory

The Inverted-U Theory

  • When people experience the right amount of pressure, they often perform brilliantly.

  • The Inverted-U Theory was created by psychologists Robert Yerkes and John Dodson in 1908.

  • The theory describes a clear relationship between pressure and performance. In the original research, pressure was exerted by electric shocks – to motivate rats to escape from a maze!

  • The Inverted-U Theory helps you to observe and manage these four factors, aiming for a balance that supports engagement, well-being, and peak performance.

Stress Level

Stress Level

When the levels of pressure we’re experiencing are right for the work we’re doing, we’re stimulated in a beneficial way: motivated, engaged, and excited about doing our best. But stress happens when people feel out of control, and it’s a wholly negative thing.

Yerkes Dodson Law

Yerkes Dodson Law

Influencers / Components

  • Skill Level.

  • Personality.

  • Trait Anxiety.

  • Task Complexity.

  • For a while, a new task is likely to be challenging enough. Later, if it starts to feel too easy, some form of extra pressure might be needed to help the person re-engage with their role.

  • People with an introverted personality, on the other hand, may perform better with less pressure.

  • People who are self-confident are more likely to perform better under pressure. This is because their self-talk is under control, which means that they can stay “in flow,” and they can concentrate fully on the situation at hand.

  • By contrast, people who criticize or question themselves are likely to be distracted by their self-talk, which can cause them to lose focus in more challenging situations.

  • People can perform simple activities under quite high levels of pressure, while complex activities are better carried out in a calm, low-pressure environment.

  • To improve work quality – try to pressure off the work situations.

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