The Science of Performing Under Pressure

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In this episode of Re:Thinking with Adam Grant, Adam speaks with cognitive scientist Sian Beilock about her unique perspective on delivering results in high-stress environments, the value of sitting with discomfort, and strategies for guarding against performance anxiety.

Adam Grant is an organizational psychologist who studies work motivation, job design, and prosocial and proactive behaviors. His research examines the forces that motivate employees to help others, and the implications of these behaviors for success and well-being. Although many employees do work that has a meaningful impact on others, all too often, they lack a vivid understanding of how their efforts make a difference. Grant’s studies demonstrate that employees work harder, smarter, longer, more generously, and more productively when they can see how their work affects others. He is the author, most recently, of Think Again among others.

Sian Beilock is a cognitive scientist by training and serves as the eighth President of Barnard College at Columbia University, and the President-Elect of Dartmouth College. Beilock is one of the world’s leading experts on the brain science behind “choking under pressure” and the brain and body factors influencing all types of performance: from test-taking to public speaking to your golf swing. She has authored two critically acclaimed books published in more than a dozen languages—Choke (2010) and How the Body Knows Its Mind (2015)—as well as over 100 peer-reviewed publications. Her 2017 TED talk has been viewed over 2.5 million times. She has also served at the University of Chicago as Executive Vice Provost, the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology, and an Officer of the University.