Relationship Between Arousal And Behavior (Essay Sample)


The relationship between arousal and behavior is somehow mutual. It forms an inverted u-curve when plotted on a graph. For an individual to behave in a certain way, he/she must be aroused first to emulate that behavior. The arousal takes precedence to performing a certain action or behaving in a certain way. However, the relationship between the two aspects of psychology are dependent on the task to be performed. The process of arousal involves the mobilization of energy towards specific parts of the body that are responsible for the performance of a certain action. The energy produced comes as a result of the individual needing to satisfy intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. The motivations are prompted either by internal factors within the boy such as hormones or by external factors such as change in composition of the environment. These motivations are achieved through psychological and physiological arousal. Behavior on the other hand consists of one or a group of responses towards stimuli. The behavior usually depends on the size and mental capabilities of an individual. Every individual has his/her unique way of reacting to a certain change in his/her environment. Therefore, the study of an individual’s response mechanism varies from one individual to another. They cannot be treated in the same way.

Effects on the Body

Psychological and physiological arousal affect the mind and the body respectively. They involve changes that occur within the respective parts of the individual that they affect. Psychological changes may involve feelings such as tension and anxiety. Physiological changes may involve changes in the body such as shaking of the body, excess sweating, increased heartbeat rate and sweaty palms or feet. The way that these actions vary from one individual to another may dictate their how comfortable they are in certain situations. In some individuals, the actions mentioned may represent how calm they are and in others it may be an indication of the panic they have in that present situation.

The situations in which an individual is involved also dictates the relationship between arousal and behavior. This is exhibited through the period that the change will take place. Individuals have different tolerance levels based on the time of exposure that they will experience under a certain change. The period of exposure determines the longevity of the inverted u-curve. Observations made in instances that involve the two aspects of psychology have shown that an individual performs certain actions best when the arousal levels are at their highest peak in the curve. After surpassing the optimum level of arousal to the highest peak, the performance drops. This happens because arousal in individuals is usually affected by hormone levels in the body. Once they have already reached their peak, they drop then the actions stops. This effect is known as the Yerkes Dodson effect. Through this effect, low arousal produces high performance on difficult tasks and high arousal produces high performance on easy tasks.

The behavior exhibited by an individual after experiencing arousal is interpreted in two ways. It can either be distress or eustress. What causes distress is any circumstance are either too high or too low arousal levels which bring about negative emotions. Eustress on the other hand is caused by arousal levels that are neither too high nor too low. The optimum levels of arousal enable an individual to not overdo certain tasks. It enables one to cope with a situation with relative ease.


Arousal and behavior therefore go hand in hand and one cannot do without the other. Both of them are however dependent on hormonal levels within the body of an individual. The resultant behavior of an individual will depend on all these factors since it comes last in the order of these variables.

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