Students can combat test anxiety and improve performance by writing about their worries immediately before the exam begins, according to a University of Chicago study in the journal Science.
In other research, Beilock has shown that pressure-filled situations can deplete a part of the brain's processing power known as working memory, which is critical to many everyday activities. Working memory is lodged in the prefrontal cortex and is a sort of mental scratch pad that allows people to "work" with information relevant to the task at hand. When worries creep up, the working memory people normally use to succeed becomes overburdened. People lose the brain power necessary to excel.