Smartphones may actually help teenagers sleep? Plus the psychological state of the “clutch performance” in sports.


Wednesday, July 5

The iPhone is ruining teenagers’ sleep patterns. But it can also fix them


Thursday, July 6

What is the psychological state underlying “clutch performance” – excelling under pressure?

Researchers from Australia and England interviewed 16 athletes from around the world a few days after they had delivered an excellent sporting performance under pressure. They asked the athletes to describe their recent outstanding performance in as much detail as possible, including what they were thinking and feeling at the time.

Analysis of the answers determined that there were 12 characteristics that underpinned a clutch performance.

Flow-like characteristics:

  1. fully absorbed in the task to the point that they were unaware of the crowd
  2. high levels of confidence
  3. a sense of control over their performance and situation
  4. enhanced motivation to succeed
  5. enjoying it just enough, but not too much
  6. being fully alert

Characteristics that were distinct from flow:

  1. deliberate focus on the task at hand
  2. having intense effort over a period of time, often characterized by not holding anything back
  3. heightened self-awareness of what he or she was thinking and feeling at the time
  4. high arousal levels
  5. automaticity of skills
  6. the absence of negative thoughts and perceived consequences if they failed

The research suggests that clutch performances are not only attained through refraining from overthinking but also through high levels of self-monitoring and making a conscious effort to raise one’s performance.

Strategies such as deliberate focus, high arousal levels, and confidence are malleable, meaning they can be practiced and developed. This is a key finding as it stresses that clutch performance isn’t innate or effortless but can be made possible by an athlete’s mental preparation.

RELATED: From The Ringer, story entitled King of the Unclutch suggests WHOOP could be used to see if MLB players’ heart rates change in key situations.


Friday, July 7

Heart Rate Variability: A Novel Modality for Diagnosing Neuropathic Pain after Spinal Cord Injury