Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Yerkes–Dodson Law

  • Ronald A. Cohen
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79948-3_1340



This law states that a relationship between arousal and behavioral task performance exists, such that there is an optimal level of arousal for an optimal performance. Over- or under-arousal reduces task performance.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References and Readings

  1. Easterbrook, J. A. (1959). The effect of emotion on cue utilization and the organization of behavior. Psychological Review, 66(3), 183–201.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Mateo, J. M. (2007). Inverted-U shape relationship between cortisol and learning in ground squirrels. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (online), Dec 27, 89, 582–590.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Yerkes, R. M. & Dodson, J. D. (1908). The relationship of strength of stimulus to rapidity of habit formation. Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology, 18, 459–482.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald A. Cohen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Human BehaviorThe Miriam Hospital Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA