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Sports Psychology – Models and Theories

1. Anxiety and Attention

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In this module, we think about how anxiety impacts sport performance. We begin by discussing the cognitive effects of anxiety and how it affects our ability to attend to the task at hand. First, we think about Attentional Control Theory, a theory which proposes that anxiety creates worrisome thoughts which occupy our working memory and impair its executive functions, leading to a reduced processing efficiency. Secondly, we consider the fact that anxiety can cause our attention to become more stimulus-driven, making it harder to control our gaze behaviour. We then move on to discuss the somatic effects of anxiety, including increased heart rate and blood pressure and changes in muscle tension. Finally, we consider some research studies which have investigated the effects of anxiety on sport performance empirically.


In this course, Dr Dan Bishop (Brunel University London) discusses a range of topics in Sports and Exercise Psychology. In module one we think about how anxiety impacts sport performance before moving on, in module two, to look at the relationship between exercise and mental health. Throughout the remaining modules we then explore a variety of personality and individual differences attributes, including reinvestment and its impact on decision-making in module three, learning by observing and imagining in module four and different psychological models of the athlete personality in module five.


Dr Dan Bishop is a Researcher and Senior Lecturer in Sport & Exercise Psychology at Brunel University London, a British Psychological Society (BPS) Chartered Psychologist registered to practise with the HCPC, an Associate Fellow of the BPS, and a Fellow of Advance HE.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Bishop, D. (2019, November 18). Sports Psychology – Models and Theories - Anxiety and Attention [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Bishop, Dan. "Sports Psychology – Models and Theories – Anxiety and Attention." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 18 Nov 2019,

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