Contradicting Theories On Choking Under Pressure Psychology Essay

For several years, the partnership between stress and performance gained much attention. Numerous subconscious researches provided facts for the anecdotal happening that pressure adversely influences cognitive and engine control during performance. This trend is known as 'choking under pressure', thought as performing more terribly than expected, in situations where performance pressure reaches a maximum, given at one's skill level.

Contradicting ideas on choking under pressure

A extensively accepted explanation for choking under great pressure in cognitive jobs is the distraction hypothesis (Wine beverage, 1971). In accordance to distraction ideas, it is proposed in high-pressure situations, the individual's attention needed to perform the duty accessible is coopted by task irrelevant thoughts and concerns such as worries about the problem and its results that contributes to choking which harm their shows. (Beilock & Carr, 2001; Lewis & Linder, 1997; Wines, 1971). Essentially, pressure creates a dual-task environment where situation-related concerns compete with the attention required to deliver the results at hand. Distraction-based accounts of skill failing propose that performance pressure impacts concentration from the main task the particular one is trying to execute to irrelevant cues. Therefore, there are inadequate working memory space resources to successfully support both main task performance and deal with worries about the pressure situation and its own consequences under great pressure which results in skill inability.

Although you can find data that pressure prompts failure by sidetracking attention from skill performance, a contradicting category of theories has been put forth as another description for skill inability. Baumeister (1984) suggested a self-focus theory called explicit-monitoring theory which says the contrary that pressure could inuence the performance of skilled individuals by causing them to activate explicit processes that hinder carrying out the procedure such as increase in their personal- awareness and panic about doing well (Gray, 2004; Experts, 1992) which in turn leads performers to emphasize their attention on skill execution to ensure optimum final result (Beilock & Carr, 2001). This concentrate on the oneself is considered to prompt individuals to turn their emphasis inward on the precise operations of performance in an effort to apply more explicit monitoring and control than would be employed in a non-pressure situation.


Distraction and explicit monitoring ideas of choking under pressure pose completely different mechanisms of skill failure. While distraction ideas claim that pressure impact performance by moving attention and working recollection resources away from it, explicit monitoring ideas claim that pressure shifts too much attention toward skill procedures and procedures. However it is unclear as to whether distraction or explicit monitoring will impact performance, even though both mechanisms have tendencies that occurs in certain contexts.

We believe pressure can do both in aspects of the performance environment itself. Distracting thoughts, explicit monitoring, or even both will be lead to with regards to the specific elements of stress suffered in high-pressure situations as it may essentially involve multiple components; therefore, exerting multiple results. The questions as to whether performance fail or succeed, and how this failing will occur, rest on areas of the pressure situation and the mandatory attention for the duty being performed.


The goal of the test is to study the result of different levels of pressure inflicted by an audience on people's performance (word count and accuracy and reliability) in a typing activity.

Experimental outline

This study was conducted on a total of 102 undergraduate psychology students, which 54 were females and 48 were men. The members ranged from 17 to 55 years of age (Mean=20. 51 years; SD=6. 28). The individuals performed a typing job under 3 dierent conditions which is not a pressure, low pressure and high pressure in random order. The no pressure condition requires participants typing while the projector screen was switched off, so no one else in the room could see what they were typing. In the low pressure condition, the display was fired up, so the rest of the category could see what was being typed. Inside the ruthless condition, the school crowded round the participant as they typed. In each condition, they are simply allocated a script of words which they need to reproduce as much as accurately as you possibly can in the time allocated (45 seconds). Quality of performance is analyzed by counting the amount of words typed and errors made.


We hypothesize that pressure have a negative impact on performance. In 'no pressure' condition, we predict that the members would achieve the best word count number with lowest amount of problems, whereas in 'high pressure' condition, we forecast that the members would achieve the cheapest word matter with highest range of errors.


The results showed that the amount of words typed was significantly afflicted by pressured condition. Participants' performance velocity was fastest in the low pressure condition set alongside the high-pressure condition. The results proved that reliability was significantly influenced by pressure condition. As for the individuals' exactness, it was increased in the no-pressure condition compared to the low-pressure and the high-pressure condition. Consequently, the results of the analysis support the hypothesis suggested.

These conclusions are constant with the analysis conducted by Gray (2004) who examined how expert football players batted in a football simulator in both low-pressure and high-pressure conditions. Grey (2004) found a rise in batting mistakes and motion variability under high pressure, in accordance with low-pressure situation; recommending that pressure negatively influences performance.

As with the football players, we believe our individuals also experienced distracting thoughts and/or explicit monitoring under great pressure which interrupted their performance. As a result, the participants experience a decrease in typing quickness; hence, produced less expression count up and made more errors while keying in.

Strengths of the experiment

This experiment evaluated both guy and girl which tips out any possible gender difference. While using wide age range of 17 to 55 years of age, it also rules out time difference. Also, by manipulating the pressure environment, individuals will concentrate on the procedure of performance versus the results of performance, allowing us to review different aspects impacting on one's performance in pressure-filled situations.

Improvement to the experiment

A larger test size would have enabled us to accomplish more correct results.


This study enables us to better understand performance failure, and ways to avoid it; across a number of skill types and situations, from a student taking a final exam newspaper to a specialist athlete performing on the field. Such developed knowledge aids the improvement of training regiments and performance strategies made to lighten these choking shows as such minimizing the likelihood of inability.

Understanding the reason choking occurs is important for developing training solutions to deal with it. Understanding skill inability and success under great pressure may give a clear view on the similarities and variations in the cognitive control structures root a diverse set of skills. Furthermore, by uncovering the mechanisms that's leading pressure-induced failing, we can also further our knowledge of how psychological and motivational factors combine with ram and attention procedures to impact skill learning and performance. A knowledge of the way the performance environment modifies cognitive processes not only advancements our understanding of the "choking under pressure" sensation explicitly but also has an belief into related situations in which performance unintentionally falters, ranging from test anxiousness to the risk of conforming to a negative stereotype. Finally, these ndings suggest an important avenue for future research working toward an all-embracing theory of when performance will are unsuccessful versus be successful under demanding situations.

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