Convergence: Connecting Levels of Analysis in Psychological Science
 In the past, our field harbored distinct, and often competing, schools of thought that tackled different problems and produced findings that often appeared to diverge. Today, investigators attack shared problems at complementary levels of analysis and produce results that converge. Studies of people in a social world; mental systems of cognition and emotion; and biological mechanisms of the genome and the nervous system interconnect and yield an integrated psychological science. The APS 23rd Annual Convention displays, and celebrates, these advances in our field.

Invited Talk

Academic Performance Under Stress

Saturday, May 26, 2012, 10:30 AM - 10:55 AM

Sian L. Beilock

Sian L. Beilock
University of Chicago

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 will sign copies of her book, Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To, immediately following this program from 11:00 -11:30 AM outside of the Ontario room.

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 .

Subject Area: Cognitive

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