IP network member Sian Beilock has been awarded the 2017 Troland Research Award for her work studying performance anxiety. The National Academy of Sciences gives the award annually to two investigators under the age of 40 to "recognize unusual achievement" and "to further empirical research" in experimental psychology.
“Uncovering the brain and body factors that explain why we sometimes perform poorly in highly stressful situations has tremendous implications for our daily lives,” Beilock told UChicago News. “It is an honor to have this research recognized by the National Academy, and I look forward to furthering our understanding of how worries, anxiety and pressure relate to learning and performance from the classroom to the athletic field to the workplace.”
Beilock's research examines the intersection of cognitive science and education. She explores the cognitive and neural substrates of skill learning as well as the mechanisms by which performance breaks down in high-stress or high-pressure situations. Her books, “Choke: What the Secrets of the Brain Reveal About Getting It Right When You Have To” and “How the Body Knows its Mind: The Surprising Power of the Physical Environment to Influence How You Think and Feel," look at this research topic in detail.
"By increasing our understanding of how and why people become anxious, Beilock’s research is developing pioneering techniques to help people perform better during complex and stressful tasks in every aspect of our daily life," writes the National Academy of Science.
Beilcok is the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology at the University of Chicago. She was named Executive Vice Provost in 2016.