Academic Performance Under Stress
Saturday, May 26, 2012,
10:30 AM - 10:55 AM
For many people, the desire to perform their best in academics is high. Consequences for poor performance, especially in examinations, include poor evaluations by mentors, teachers, and peers; lost scholarships; and relinquished educational opportunities. But why do poor performances occur in the very situations in which students are set on doing their best? What cognitive and neural processes drive less-than-optimal outcomes when the pressure is high? And can we use knowledge about how thinking is altered under stress to shed light on why some people thrive while others fail in high-stakes situations? In this talk, I will discuss behavioral and brain imaging work examining how students’ knowledge and general cognitive abilities interact with social and emotional factors (e.g., a student’s fear of test taking) to influence performance in academic arenas such as math. Implications for education and assessment, as well as how neuroscience can inform our understanding of the interplay of emotion and cognitive control in academic settings, will be discussed.
Sian Beilock in the news: The Huffington Post (Jan 9, 2012), Discovery News (Feb 16, 2012) and The New York Times (April 13, 2012) and The Faces and Minds of Psychological Science .