Columbia University in the City of New York

Sep 19, 20196:30 pm

Performing Our Best When the Pressure is On

Join us for a conversation with Barnard President Sian Beilock as she discusses the science behind the pressure young students face trying to excel.

September 19th, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm at Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University

Register Here

**This event will be livestreamed via YouTube beginnning at 6:30 pm ET.**

Most students are motivated to perform at their best in school. But with this motivation can come pressure to excel — from parents, teachers, peers and students themselves. Why do poor performances occur in those very situations where students are set on doing their best? What happens in the brain and body when the pressure is high? And, why do some students thrive while others fail in high-stakes situations? In this discussion, Sian Beilock will discuss how current research in psychology and neuroscience can be used by parents, teachers and students themselves to enhance learning and performance in school — especially for students who are chronically anxious about taking tests.

This conversation will be moderated by Bianca Jones Marlin, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in the laboratory of Richard Axel at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Institute.

Sian Beilock serves as the eighth President of Barnard College at Columbia University. As one of the most selective academic institutions in the United States, Barnard College is devoted to empowering exceptional women to change the world and the way we think about it.

Prior to her appointment as President, Beilock served at the University of Chicago as Executive Vice Provost, an officer of the university, and the Stella M. Rowley Professor of Psychology.

She is one of the world’s leading experts on the brain science behind “choking under pressure” and the many brain and body factors influencing all types of performance: from test-taking to public speaking to your golf swing. Beilock has authored two critically acclaimed books—Choke and How the Body Knows Its Mind—and over 100 peer-reviewed publications. Her 2018 TED Talk has been viewed over 2 million times.

Her research is funded by the US Department of Education, the National Science Foundation (including a CAREER award) and private foundations. She has sat on a National Research Council panel on decision making and stress and presented her work to the National Science Board. Beilock’s research is routinely covered in the media (e.g., CNN, New York Times, NPR, Wall Street Journal). She has been chosen as one of twenty-five “Women to Watch” by Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine and received early career contribution awards from the Psychonomics Society, the Society of Experimental Psychologists, the American Psychological Foundation and the Association for Psychological Science.

She is a member of the National Academy of Kinesiology and a fellow of the American Psychological Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). In 2017, Beilock received the National Academy of Sciences Troland Research Award for her pioneering work on anxiety and performance in high-stress situations.


RSVP by Thursday, September 12, 2019. Registration is required; seating is first come, first served. This event will also be live streamed.


This talk is part of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Brain Insight Lecture series, offered free to the public to enhance understanding of the biology of the mind and the complexity of human behavior. The lectures are hosted by Columbia’s Mortimer B. Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute and supported by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation.


Venue: Graduate School of Journalism, Columbia University
2950 Broadway, New York, NY 10027

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