Is choking under pressure a sort of loss aversion?


Don’t Choke

Ten seconds into the race, Lolo Jones had pulled far ahead of her competition at the women’s 100-meter hurdles final during the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. What happened next was, for Jones fans, heartbreaking to watch. After effortlessly flying over eight hurdles, Jones clipped the ninth with her right heel, knocking it over and shaking her balance. Her rival, fellow American Dawn Harper, took home the gold medal. Jones placed seventh. Crossing the finish line, Jones hung her head. A photographer captured her doubled over in tears, pounding the track with her fist. “I really just put too much pressure on myself,” she later told Time. That gets at one theory of choking: Scientists have long thought that the painful ooof moments are what happens when anxiety and tension cause people to over-think something that should come easily. Rumination, far from making movements more intentional, can sometimes make them clumsier. ….[READ]


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