Thursday, 24 October 2013

BF2013: Mental Health Awareness - Part One...

Earlier in the week I attended a Mental Health Awareness session at work. The presenter started the session by explaining the Yerkes-Dodson Curve, also known as the Yerkes-Dodson Law.

The original Yerkes-Dodson Law
 “The Yerkes–Dodson law is an empirical relationship between arousal and performance, originally developed by psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John Dillingham Dodson in 1908.[1] The law dictates that performance increases with physiological or mental arousal, but only up to a point. When levels of arousal become too high, performance decreases.”

Basically, a strategy, such as drinking caffeine to get you going in the morning, will only work to a point but will not help you sustain the level of performance achieved. Stimulus, ie caffeine, will work in small doses, but going overboard will prove to be detrimental to performance.

The presenter went on to say that there is a zone on either side of the optimal performance peak (see image below), and that we need to keep in the zone for best, and most consistent, performance. The solution to staying in the zone is by staggering out stimuli so as to sustain the peak level.

The Hebbian version of the Yerkes-Dodson Law

I found this a very interesting topic to learn about as it gave me a valuable insight into why my performance diminishes at certain times during the day. I hope to pinpoint a stimulus that will assist me to maintain my performance much better than it has been of late.

Join me here tomorrow for Part Two where I will share some strategies that the trainer discussed.

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