Sian Beilock’s research program sits at the intersection of cognitive science and education. She is interested in how the brain, mind and body support learning and why performance breaks down in high-stress or high-pressure situations. She 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.
In her laboratory, the Human Performance Lab, Beilock uses many different methods in her research—ranging from behavior measures (such as reaction time and accuracy on an important test), to physiological measures of stress (salivary cortisol), to neuroimaging techniques (fMRI). She also conducts studies in the classroom with students from early elementary school through college.
She is the author of two books: Choke: What The Secrets Of The Brain Reveals About Getting It Right When You Have To (2010) and How The Body Knows Its Mind: The Surprising Power of the Physical Environment to Influence How You Think and Feel (2015).