Date on Senior Honors Thesis
Senior Honors Thesis
Psychological and Brain Sciences
College of Arts and Sciences
Pressure; Sensorimotor; Working memory; Performance
Underperformance in high-pressure situations, commonly known as choking under pressure, has been well-documented in the literature. For well-learned sensorimotor skills, such as sports, choking is thought to occur because individuals devote explicit attention to the steps of the skill, which disrupts performance. The current study examines how the type of pressure situation an individual experiences, and individual differences in working memory capacity, influence choking on a sensorimotor skill. Participants (N = 96) performed a Sensorimotor Reaction Time Task (SRTT) either under monitoring pressure, outcome pressure, or no pressure (control). High working-memory individuals performed significantly worse while completing the SRTT under monitoring pressure relative to outcome pressure. Low working-memory individuals performed marginally better than high working-memory individuals under monitoring pressure. These findings demonstrate that high working-memory negatively impacts sensorimotor skill performance in monitoring pressure situations. Furthermore, these results show how monitoring pressure leads to decreases in performance in high working-memory individuals due to enhancing the amount of attention these individuals direct to task execution.
Grant, Lauren, "The impact of evaluative pressure and higher working memory capacity on sensorimotor skill performance." (2015). College of Arts & Sciences Senior Honors Theses. Paper 60.