ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2021, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (6): 1122-1130.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2021.01122

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Theory evolution of the relationship between competitive pressure, attentional control and sports performance

SUN Guoxiao1, ZHANG Liwei2()   

  1. 1School of Physical Education, Shandong University, Jinan 250061, China
    2School of Psychology, Beijing Sport University, Beijing 100084, China
  • Received:2020-09-23 Online:2021-06-15 Published:2021-04-25
  • Contact: ZHANG Liwei


Competitive pressure and anxiety have a significant impact on athletes' performance. Attentional control theory explains how anxiety affects performance from the perspective of top-down attentional control. The evolution and development of attentional control theory was unfolded in this paper. First, its historical evolution from the cognitive interference theory and processing efficiency theory was reviewed. Second, the empirical research examining the basic assumptions of attentional control theory in sports field, and the extended research based on these hypotheses were introduced. Third, the developmental theory - attentional control theory: sport was introduced. Finally, the interlinkage of this new theory with the biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat and the strength model of self-control was analyzed, and a “pressure-resource-attentional control integration model” was proposed. The integration model will contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the relationship between competitive pressure, attentional control and sports performance.

Key words: attentional control theory, biopsychosocial model of challenge and threat, the strength model of self-control, competitive pressure, sports performance

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