Sian L. Beilock

  • Professor in Psychology


Sian L. Beilock is one of the world’s leading experts on the brain science behind “choking under pressure” and the many factors influencing all types of performance: from test-taking to public speaking to one's golf swing. She received a BS in Cognitive Science from the University of California, San Diego in 1997 and PhDs in kinesiology and psychology from Michigan State University in 2003. In her laboratory, the Human Performance Lab, Beilock explores the cognitive and neural processes driving learning, as well as the mechanisms by which performance breaks down in high-stress or high-pressure situations. She uses a variety of methods in her work – ranging from behavioral performance measures (e.g., reaction time and accuracy), to physiological measures of stress (e.g., salivary cortisol), to neuroimaging techniques (e.g., fMRI). She conducts studies in both the laboratory and classroom. Her book, Choke: What The Secrets Of The Brain Reveals About Getting It Right When You Have To, came out in fall 2010.