Summary of Why We Choke Under Pressure – and How to Avoid It

Looking for the video?
We have the summary! Get the key insights in just 5 minutes.

Why We Choke Under Pressure – and How to Avoid It summary
Start getting smarter:
or see our plans




If you’ve practiced diligently, you’ll triumph when your skill level meets a worthy challenge. Yet when an audience is observing, when the stakes are high or when the penalties for failure are large, even accomplished performers can choke as their thought processes take an unwelcome detour to the prefrontal cortex – the home of insecure self-appraisals. Cognitive scientist Sian Leah Beilock examines performance anxiety and shares her firsthand experience. getAbstract recommends her practical tips to anyone who wants to learn to excel under pressure.

About the Speaker

Cognitive scientist Sian Leah Beilock is the president of Barnard College. She studies performance anxiety.



If you ask a college soccer player to dribble a ball down the field, you’ll likely witness an effortless display of athleticism. Have the same player repeat the exercise, this time focusing on which side of the foot makes contact with the ball, and you’ll see a clumsier performance. The latter situation mimics the pressure a player might feel on game day. When athletes are relaxed, their moves are automatic. Apply a little pressure, and they overanalyze their movements, which inhibits their flow. The human brain can handle only so much, and under pressure, it often will focus on the wrong details, derailing performance. This choking phenomenon is called “overattention” or “<...

More on this topic

Customers who read this summary also read

Productive Failure
Emotions: Facts vs. Fiction
Wanted: Rebel Talent
Mental Health Strategies That Work and Don’t Work
Drop the Ball Instead of Trying to Do It All
The Psychology of the Con

Related Channels

Comment on this summary