Choking and excelling under pressure. Academic Article uri icon


  • Decrements in performance on cognitive tasks resulting from pressure to perform (i.e., choking) are thought to be caused by interference with the ability to use explicit strategies (the distraction theory). This view suggests that pressure should improve performance on tasks for which explicit strategies hamper performance. This hypothesis was tested by giving subjects one of two nearly identical learning tasks, a task that required learning a rule or one that required using a holistic information-integration strategy. Explicit rule use would hurt performance in the latter task. As predicted by the distraction theory, pressure decreased performance on the rule-based task but enhanced performance on the information-integration task.

published proceedings

  • Psychol Sci

altmetric score

  • 22.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Markman, A. B., Maddox, W. T., & Worthy, D. A.

citation count

  • 90

complete list of authors

  • Markman, Arthur B||Maddox, W Todd||Worthy, Darrell A

publication date

  • November 2006