Scripps Howard News Service:
When the typically solid free-throw sinker fails to find net in a close game’s waning minutes, when the firm’s best deal-sealer falters in the final round of negotiations, when a baseball team’s closer becomes a blow-ser in the final inning — the choke talk begins.
Psychologists and brain scientists have been working for years to understand why talented, competent people don’t rise to the occasion in clutch situations.
University of Chicago psychology professor Sian Bielock, author of a widely hailed analysis of choking (“Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Tell You About Getting It Right When You Have To”) published in 2010, explains over-thinking as “conscious attention to automatized physical operations that destroys the athlete’s normal fluidity.”
But there’s always more to learn about the phenomena of “being clutch” –or not — as several recent reports show.
In a paper published last October, Rob Gray of the University of Birmingham in England noted that athletes need to realize they’re more apt to choke at a decisive moment. “We think when you’re under pressure, that your attention goes inward naturally. And focusing on what you’re doing makes you mess up,” Gray said of his study, which appeared in the journal Current Directions in Psychological Science. The next questions are why, and just how, the failure occurs.
Read the whole story: Scripps Howard News Service
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