Learning under pressure: The important role of resilience and confidence

Written by Dr Monique Crane
Monday February 2016

In this study, we examined which psychological resources could possible enhance the acquisition of complex skills under pressure. In this case, the learning task was to learn to pilot a flight simulator. This is a difficult sensory motor task and our participants had no previous experience flying.

We found that both being resilient and having a generally higher sense of confidence improved skill acquisition rate when learning was taking place under high pressure. When learning took place under low pressure it did not matter whether students were high or low in resilience or self-efficacy.

Importantly, people who were low in resilience and confidence tended not to learn when they were placed under high pressure. This means that irrespective of how 'smart' the participant were, when placed under high pressure, those low in these resilience and confidence did not improve their performance.


The research team would like to know more about how resilience and confidence impacts performance and learning. If your organisation is also interested to know more please contact us.