Discover Magazine: how the brain causes us to “choke” under pressure

Posted: December 6, 2010 – An article in Discover Magazine (from Discover’s special Brain Issue) discusses the science behind “choking” under pressure and how to prevent it. “Choking” in this context means to fail under pressure despite having the ability to succeed – in school, at work, during a performance, or during competition.

The article explains how the brain functions when under pressure and lists constrained working memory as one of the main causes of “choking”. As the article says, “If we’re doing an activity that requires a lot of cognitive horsepower, such as responding to an on-the-spot question, and at the same time we’re worrying about screwing up, then suddenly we don’t have the brainpower we need.”

Click here to read the article