Sian Leah Beilock

Cognitive scientist
Sian Leah Beilock studies how performance anxiety can be exacerbated or alleviated, and the simple strategies we can use to ensure success under pressure.

Why you should listen

Sian Leah Beilock is exploring the science behind why people "choke" in pressure-packed situations. Specifically, she examines factors in the brain and body that influence performance in stressful situations ranging from test-taking to public speaking to sporting events. Using a variety of research methods, including assessing test performance to neuroimaging techniques, Beilock's work is aimed at better understanding how our cognition and reasoning skills change when we are under stress.

In 2017, the National Academy of Sciences honored Beilock with the Troland Award, in recognition of her pioneering work in experimental psychology. She has published two books and more than 100 papers though her research. After serving as Executive Vice Provost of the University of Chicago, Beilock was recently appointed as the eighth President of Barnard College.

Sian Leah Beilock’s TED talk