Anxiety and performance: perceptual-motor behavior in high-pressure contexts

Arne Nieuwenhuys, Raôul RD Oudejans

Research output: Contribution to JournalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


When the pressure is on and anxiety levels increase it is not easy to perform well. In search of mechanisms explaining the anxiety–performance relationship, we revisit the integrated model of anxiety and perceptual-motor performance (Nieuwenhuys and Oudejans, 2012) and provide a critical review of contemporary literature. While there is increasing evidence that changes in attentional control affect the execution of goal-directed action, based on our model and emerging evidence from different scientific disciplines, we argue for a more integrated, process-based approach. That is, anxiety can affect performance on different levels of operational control (i.e., attentional, interpretational, physical) and – moving beyond the execution of action – have implications for different aspects of perceptual-motor behavior, including situational awareness and decision making.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28-33
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


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