Being told you thrive under pressure could help you perform in a pinch. In a 2012 study, researchers had participants throw a ball at a target, then complete two questionnaires. Some were told that their answers indicated they would perform well under pressure, while others received nonspecific feedback about their abilities. When participants were asked to hit the target again while being videotaped and offered prizes for improving their accuracy by 15 percent, almost 90 percent of the people told they'd do well under pressure met the accuracy goal, compared with just 27 percent of the control group. Ta-da!
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