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Why do people choke when the stakes are high?
Date:5/9/2012

ur study shows that changes in activity in this same region can, under certain situations, also lead to worsening performance."

While this study only involved a specific motor task and financial incentives, these results may well be universal, says Shinsuke Shimojo, the Gertrude Baltimore Professor of Experimental Psychology and another coauthor of the study. "The implications and applications can include any sort of decision making that contains high stakes and uncertainties, such as business and politics."

These findings, the researchers say, might be used to develop new ways to motivate people to perform better or to train them to be less loss-averse. "This loss aversion can be an important way of deciding how to set up incentive mechanisms and how to figure out who's going to perform well and who isn't," Chib says. "If you can train somebody to be less loss-averse, maybe you can help them avoid performing poorly in stressful situations."


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Contact: Deborah Williams-Hedges
debwms@caltech.edu
626-395-3227
California Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert  

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