High achievers more likely to choke under pressure
Wednesday 27 October 2010
When the pressure is on, why do we sometimes choke? Surprising studies reveal that high achievers, from top athletes to star students, are more likely to crack under pressure. A new book examines why and how to avoid it.
Sian Beilock, a professor of psychology at the University of Chicago, says it's all in the brain. In her book Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To, she boils it down to this: under pressure, the prefrontal cortex (the very front part of the brain) stops working the way it should. And while high achievers are exposed to more high pressure situations, increasing their likelihood for choking, Beilock says that doesn't matter. It's because they are high in cognitive horsepower, which can collapse under fire.
"They feel a lot of pressure to succeed because they have high expectations, but also because they normally rely heavily on working memory that is really compromised under stress," Beilock explained in the book.
How to avoid choking? Beilock recommends practicing under stress, so you get used to the pressure. Even practicing under mild levels of pressure, such as with friends watching you, can be sufficient to help you when the real pressure hits.
Focus on the outcome, not the mechanics, adds Beilock. She also recommends writing down your thoughts and worries, to unscramble them from your brain. You can do this a few minutes before the event or in the days or weeks preceding if necessary.
To read Beilock's blog entry: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/choke/201008/rod-what-took-you-so-long
For more on the book: http://www.amazon.com/Choke-Secrets-Brain-Reveal-Getting/dp/1416596178
Life & Style blogs
Revenge porn: What is it – and how big is the problem?
Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Windows 10: Microsoft bypasses 'Windows 9' to unveil latest operating system
The Fappening: After the third wave of leaked celebrity photos, why can't we stop it?
The truth about student sex workers: it's far from Belle Du Jour
- 1 Sainsbury's '50p challenge' poster telling staff to encourage customers to spend more placed in shop window instead of staff room
- 2 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 3 Isis an hour away from Baghdad - with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
- 4 Yes, the iPhone 6 is a miracle, but it's Apple's tax affairs that deserve a double take
- 5 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- < Previous
- Next >
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Year 3 primary supply teacher ne...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: We work with a number of schools ...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Hull: Early Years supply teachers neede...
Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE NQ to MID LEVEL - An e...