President of Barnard College
Performing At Your Best Under Stress
On February 18, 2014, over 2,000 New Trier Township school personnel will take part in an historic K-12 social emotional learning institute day. The goal is to begin a dialogue about classroom best practices that support the social and emotional well being of students. As part of this unique collaboration, the Family Action Network (FAN) was asked to consult with school administrators to select the daytime keynote speaker, who would then do an evening presentation to the broader community. The challenge was to identify someone whose research could span the interest of K-12 educators, administrators, athletic staff – which led us directly to Sian Beilock, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology and Principal Investigator at the Human Performance Lab at The University of Chicago.
The author of the 2010 New York Times bestseller Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To, Dr. Beilock is one of the foremost experts on the brain science behind performance under stress, explains why we “choke” under pressure as well as how we make that difficult math calculation or presentation look easy. She will give an overview of what psychological and brain science says about how we get to be the best and will then detail how and why our performance sometimes go awry when there is the utmost pressure to succeed. She unpacks the science behind why some people excel and others fail to perform at a high level when the stakes are high in activities ranging from taking the SAT to solving a math problem as classmates look on. Linking body and mind closer than ever before, Dr. Beilock provides counterintuitive revelations about intelligence and performance. She also gives practical advice about ways to not choke in high-pressure situations, and how to succeed brilliantly when it matters most. In 2007, Dr. Beilock was chosen as one of twenty-five “Women to Watch” by Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine, and in 2011 she received an early career award from the Association for Psychological Science for her transformative contributions to the understanding of the psychology behind stress and performance.