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A change in perspective could be all it takes to succeed in school
Date:8/8/2011

t ways in which people can fumble under pressure. They also suggest remedies. The work, which was based on a series of experiments with several hundred undergraduate students in varying stressful situations, is reported in the paper "Choking Under Pressure: Multiple Routes to Skill Failure."

The experiments explored two theories of why people choke: One holds that people are distracted by worries, and as a result, fail to access their talents; another conversely proposes that stress causes people to pay too much attention to their performance and become self-conscious.

"What we showed in these experiments is that the situation determines what kind of choking develops. Knowing this can help people choose the right strategy to overcome the problem," Beilock said.

In the case of test-taking, good test preparation and a writing exercise can boost performance by reducing anxiety and freeing up working memory. The kind of choking prompted by performing before others calls for a different remedy.

"When you're worried about doing well in a game, or giving a memorized speech in front of others, the best thing to do is to distract yourself with a little tune before you start so you don't become focused on all the details of what you've done so many times before," she said. "On the playing field, thinking too much can be a bad thing," she further explained.


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Contact: William Harms
w-harms@uchicago.edu
773-702-8356
University of Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

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