Physical Education A2 - Psychology - All topics

Psychology notes for the A2 AQA PE exam :)

  • Created by: steph
  • Created on: 08-04-11 18:03








Goal Setting




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Aggression is behaviour that hamrs another, intentional, outside laws or rules of game

Types of Aggression

Hostile: reactive, involved anger, solely to harm

Instrumental: means to a goal, no anger, can be used to provoke aggression in others, i.e. putting someone off their performance

Channeled: positive form, divert feelings into actions, i.e. channel anger into throwing shot putt and end up throwing it further as more force

Assertive: acceptable, physical force, withing rules of sport

Theories of Aggression

Instinct: Freud 1920, posses a negative destructive energy which produces aggression, when released correctly it is known as cartharsis, LIMITATIONS: implies biology, doesn't explain instrumental aggression, and what about those who are never aggressive?

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Frustration-Aggression hypothesis: Dollard 1939, Frustration leads to aggressive behaviour, frustrated if prevented from acheiving a goal, closer to the goal=more frustrated, if aggression does occur=carthartic=less frustration LIMITATIONS: not everyones frustration leads to aggression?, aggressive acts are not always consistent, aggression can occur without frustration

Aggresive Cue Theory: For aggressive behaviour to occur, socially learned cues must be present: aggressive role models, reinforcement, coach/parent encouragement, stimuli: sports, people, places BUT LIMITATIONS: does it apply to everyone? can you learn aggression?

SLT: Bandura, aggressive behaviours can be learnt, observers imitate behaviour, reinforcement. LIMITATIONS: observing behaviour does not evoke aggressive acts in everyone

Controlling Aggression

Two elements must be present: individual and a significant other

Four principle strategies: Punish aggressive play (e.g red card), Reinforce assertive play (e.g. rewards such as man of match), Reduce levels of arousal (e.g. techniques such as breathing/bio feedback etc), Avoid aggressive situations (e.g avoid places, swop seats on bench)

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Anxiety - Negative aspect of stress, worry, individual

Types of Anxiety:

Trait: enduring, innate personality trait, pre-disposition, all situations seen as threatening

State: temporary emotional response to a situation, situation specific

  • Cognitive: psychological, feelings of nervousness, apprehension, negative thoughts or worry
  • Somatic: physiological, sweaty palms, high heart rate etc

Measuring Anxiety

  • Questionnaire (STAI / **** / CSAI-2) but: can lie, annoying, long, boring
  • Interview: time and cost
  • Observation (Body Language): but can be interpreted differently
  • Physiological (Somatic - Heart rate, sweat): Impractical if mid-game etc
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Cognitive Techniques

  • Imagery/Visualisation/Mental Rehearsal - Lock in on perfect performance, diverts attention away from stress, calming image/image of success
  • Attentional Control - Maintain concentration on appropriate cues, linked into concentration, avoid distractions
  • Thought Stopping - Use of simple mental or physical action, switches attention to calm mental state
  • Self Talk - Develop positive thoughts to remove negative ones, used as a means of breaking bad habits, e.g Stop/No to remind ourself of key aspects of technique

Somatic Techniques

  • Biofeedback - measure hr/bp etc, reduces by distracting from cause of anxiety
  • Centering - use deep breathing to focus concentration, can use key word e.g relax/focus
  • Breathing control - deep breathing, used with other techniques
  • Muscle Relaxation PMR - alternate tension and relaxation of body muscles to progressively reduce tension of whole body
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The state of general preparedness of the body for action involving pyshiological and psychological factors (Murray and Bevis 2009)

State of: activation, excitement, alertness, anticipation

Two Types:

Somatic (Physio): Constant need to urinate/increased bp/ butterflies/ headache, clammy hands/ increased hr/ increased breathing rate

Cognitive (Psycho): fear/ tension/ narrowing of attention/ anxiety / apprehension / difficulty sleeping

Over arousal can lead to anxiety and this can have negative effect on performance, under arousal has similar effect

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Theoris of Arousal

Drive Theory: Linear relationship, Hull - high arousal = dominant response, expert's dominant response is likely to be correct but beginners may be wrong or not have on therefore performance decreases

Inverted U: Optimal Level of arousal, once over optimum performance decreases. Optimum level is different for different sports (rugby higher than golf)

Catastrophe: Development of inverted U - 3D. Rapid decline in performance due to relationship between cog and som anxiety. High cog and low som=enhanced performance, high cog and high som=catastrophe

  • Cog is higher days before comp, som rises a few hours before, cog fluctuates during event due to success or failure, somatic decreases during performance
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View towards an attitude object (person, behaviour, event). Can be positive, negative or neutral

Formed: Social Learning (learning from sig others) / Peer Groups (learn from peers) / Familiarity (more experience the more likely to be positive about it) / Conditioning (rewarding attitudes reinforces and strengthens)

Changing: Persuasive Communication (disscusions or debates, need persuader, reciever and message), Cognitive Dissonance (creates tension/dissonance, so motivated to change discomfort by triadic model)

Triadic Model: CAB - Cognitive (what we know about object), Affective (how we feel about object), Behavioural (how we behave and respond to object)

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Weiners Attribution Theory - reasons we give for success or failure

Attributions are important as can affect motivation levels, can learn from experiences and effect future expectations

Internal                     External

Stable                              Ability                   Task Difficulty

Unstable                          Effort                          Luck

Stable/Unstable = Stability Dimension

Internal/External = Locus of Causality

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Learned Helplessness

Self serving bias: tendency to attribute wins to internal factors and loses to external factors to protect self esteem

Learned Helplessness: when performer thinks going to fail and nothing can be done about it / inevitable expectation of failure / loss of motivation leading to giving up even is success is possible / Global or Specific

Cause: Attibute failure to stable/internal factors, or keep losing to same team/person


  • Work with performer and use methods to change way think, changing reasons for failure
  • Monitor attributions/ draw attention to progress / focus on process goals / play weaker teams / attribute to stable and internal factors / attribute failure to external and unstable factors / aim to ensure initial success to avoid LH
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Sports Confidence

Self Confidence: a beliefe in your own ability to achieve success

Self Efficacy: situation specific self confidence / perception of ability to cope with demands

Four Sources of Information:

Performance Accomplishments - if achieved before more likely to be more confident / repeated success = more confidence / negative aspect = snowball effect

Vicarious Experiences - Seeing someone else do it

Verbal Persuasion - Convince someone is good enough

Emotional Persuasion - interpret your arousal / seeing somatic increases as bodies natural response / avoid triggers which can make less confident

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Social Facilitation

Zajonc 1965 - the influence of the presence of others on performance - Audience or coactors

Facilitated performance for simple or well learned skills but adverse effect on acquiring new skills

Dominant Response

Evaluation Apprehension - Cotterell 1968, argues that it is not the mere presence of others but being evaluated or assessed

Baron's Distraction Theory - linked social facilitation to information processing - idea that audience is another stimuli and therefore takes up processing space, audience demands attention therefore increases arousal, conflict between attending to audience and the task

Limiting effects of an audience - Learn new skills with no audience / gradually introduce audience in training / cognitive strategies / improve self efficacy (PA, VE &VP)

Home-Field advantage - audience energises the home team or inhibits visiting team (travel and taunts from crowd) / can be disadvantage due to pressure to win which results in high arousal levels / ideal situation = supportive large home crowd, close proximity, hostility to visiting team

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Goal Setting

Affective by: directing attention away from stress / reducing anxiety / helps keep effort constant until goal reached / motivates performer / encourages task persistance

Three types: Outcome (outcome of competition), Performance (end product of performance e.g. time or distance), Process Goals (behaviours/techniques)

Affect on anxiety: OC can increase anxiety if result not achieved / PF can reduce anxiety if realistic, PR can influence performance goals

Principles: SMART / Moderate difficulty / write down and monitor regularly / mixture of OC, PF and PR goals / Use ST goals to achieve LT goals / Team as well as individual goals / make sure they are internalised by athlete

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2 or more people interacting with each other - collective identity / shared norms/ common goals/ efforts of one affect others/ hierachy/ task cohesion/ social cohesion/ independence from others

Sociograms can be used to depict relationships on a team - has stars, isolates, pairs and clusters. Useful to chose captain, make sure don't lose a player etc


Forming - get to know each other

Storming - roles become established

Norming - stability / cohesion

Performing - roles and relationships established / feel part of team (not all teams fet to this stage

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Tendency of a group to stick together / resistance to breaking up / forces keeping the group together

Cohesive teams do not spend much time on maintainance / team members who are attracted to group work harder / superior communication / loyal to team

Social Cohesion: interpersonal attraction, socialising with team, liking one another

Task Cohesion: working towards common goal - important for success

Carron defined four antecedents: Environmental factors (e.g. size), Personal Factors (gender, satisfaction), Leadership (style/relationship), Team factors (ability, stability)

Developing Cohesion: Elimination of faulty processes / training drills / explain roles within group / give praise and feedback / set individual and team goals / give individual players responsibility / develop social cohesion away from training

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Faulty group processes - Steiner 1972 / Actual productivity = potential productivity - Losses due to faulty group processes

Losses can be due to co-ordination factors (poor communication or strategies for example) or motivational factors (lack of recognition or no benefit to players when successful. Link to ringleman effect and social loafing)

Ringleman effect: as group size increases, the individual effort decreases

Social Loafing: loss of individual effort due to motivation, less likely to occur in coacting sports like rowing, and more likely in large groups where contirbutions go unnoticed

Improve group performance: use drills that involve interactive play / make sure everyone understands each others roles on team

A coach can reduce motivation loss by: recognising individual players successes / intrinsice and extrinsic motivation / develop team cohesion / role of captain / awareness of social loafing

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Chelladurai's Multidimensional Model

Leadership can change and vary depending on Leader, Group or Situation. So a good leader must be dynamic and changeable depending on situation.

Group members have a preffered behaviour but recognise that certain situations demand a certain behaviour from the leader known as the required behaviour. Actual behaviour is what the leader exhibits.

When all three antecedants are congrugent then optimal performance occurs

Situational Characteristics       Required Behaviour  

Leader Characteristics            Actual Behaviour              Performance & Satisfaction

Member Characteristics          Preferred Behaviour

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Great Man theory - born not made

  • Prescribed Leaders: appointed by someone / bring new ideas / can be disruptive to group harmony (e.g. coach, teacher, manager)
  • Emergent Leaders: comes from within the group / have respect and support / does not normally bring new ideas


  • Autocratic: Command / Task orientated / effective in team sports
  • Democratic: decisions made with group / good for individual sports / person orientated
  • Laissez-Faire: Leader is passive / not good for sport

EG. Large group = task & auto / Young = person ori / Older = democratic / Girls = person & demo / Boys = task & auto / High Skill = task

Fiedlers contingency model - Type of leader depends on favourableness of situation (quality of leaders relationship with group / leaders level of authority / resources / demands of task / environmental danger)

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A set of unique traits, which can be a predictor of behaviour

Trait Theory - Innate/ Enduring / Consistent behvaiour / Predisposition to behave a certain way / Cattel 16PF / Eysenk EPI

Interactionist Theory - We have traits but behaviour depends on situation - > Lewin 1935 B=F(P.E) / Leads to stable behaviour in certain situations / change environment changes behaviour

Hollanders Model - Interactionist Theory - Psychololgical Core (Real you) -> Typical Responses (usual behaviour) -> Role Related Behaviour (in a specific situation)

POMS - Morgans 1979 - Score for Tension, Depression, Anger, Vigour, Fatigue and Confusion. Ideal = iceberg graph / can use to diagnose overtraining

Achievement Motivation - nAch need to achieve (like challenge, task persistance, not afraid of failure, value feedback, approah behaviour)/ Naf need to avoid failure (prefer easy task, lack task persistance, preoccupied with failure, dislike evaluation, avoidance behaviour) - Interactionist Theory

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Gabriella Kirkby


Thank You so much!

Lucy Whitear


you are a star!

Lucy Whitear


you are a star!

georgie bird


so useful!

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