Noah Forrin, PhD Postdoctoral fellow in Psychology University of Waterloo

Performance Anxiety Reduces Memory Before a Performance

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Noah Forrin, PhD Postdoctoral fellow in Psychology University of Waterloo

Dr. Forrin

Noah Forrin, PhD
Postdoctoral fellow in Psychology
University of Waterloo

 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Everyday experience suggests that people have poor memory for information that they encounter prior to their own public performance.  For example, prior to giving a presentation at school or at work, people often struggle to remember information from a presentation that occurred before their own.

n our study, we tested the hypothesis that performance anticipation reduces memory for pre-performance information.  We found that when participants anticipated a simple upcoming presentation–reading words out loud in front of someone else–their memory was diminished prior to reading those words out loud.  Memory may be reduced in this way because people are thinking about their upcoming performance or because they are anxious (i.e., performance anxiety).

MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?

Response: We found that when participants anticipated a simple upcoming presentation–reading words out loud in front of someone else–their memory was diminished prior to reading those words out loud.  Memory may be reduced in this way because people are thinking about their upcoming performance or because they are anxious (i.e., performance anxiety). 

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Performance anticipation reduces memory for information that comes before your performance.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We are currently examining whether this phenomenon occurs in the classroom.  Thus far, our results suggested that students who expect to give a class presentation have reduced memory for someone else’s presentation that occurred before their own. 

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: One strategy to avoid having poor memory for information that comes before your own performance is give your performance early (e.g., be the first person in class or during a meeting to present).  In that way, you are then able to focus more on others’ presentations.

Citation:

Noah D. Forrin, Brandon C.W. Ralph, Navi K. Dhaliwal, Daniel Smilek, Colin M. MacLeod. Wait for it…performance anticipation reduces recognition memory. Journal of Memory and Language, 2019; 109: 104050 DOI: 10.1016/j.jml.2019.104050

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Oct 4, 2019 @ 9:29 pm 

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