Remember that one time when you walked into our class and saw a girl in the front row hooked up to a machine that beeped a lot? Me too. It was taking my blood pressure. Little did I know that I had volunteered to prove that evaluation apprehension exists. This means that when I am aware of other people around me and I am concerned about my performance in front of them, my performance will change… and my physiological state.
So I start by answering math questions on a piece of paper. Piece of cake? I thought so. Little did I realize that I would find out the my blood pressure and heart rate were about to shoot through the roof. Then I started answering harder math questions, and I became increasingly aware of our class sitting behind me. Could they see the mistakes I was making? Were they making fun of me for how slowly I was subtracting by 14? Ohhh man am I sweating? Can they tell?
It only got worse from here. I had to sit on front of the class and answer the math questions. Seriously? I can’t even remember the last time I did simple subtraction. Subtracting by 27?! Freaking impossible.
The results? Because I was in front of the class… my performance on simple math actually got better. My physiological state? Blood pressure and heart rate skyrocketed. Subtracting by 27… well, I did significantly worse. I was so darn worried about other people in the class doing it in their heads faster than me, or how I looked, or how people were gonna think I was an idiot, that I completely started to suck at math.
You all witnessed that evaluation apprehension is an extremely real thing. At least you learned the easy way.