Is there a specific reason why being “put on the spot” or under pressure, that makes it seemingly hard to think?

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A good example would be when you’re having a conversation and someone asks what kind of music you like, and even if you’ve recently been really enjoying something, you can’t think of literally any artist ever.

In: Biology
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Because you’re given little time to think and respond to the “threat” at hand – it’s the same principle as being jump-scared or being surprised

Who is your favorite artist?

put on the spot and put under pressure are 2 different things

1. put under pressure activates a fight or flight response, your brain is occupied in this situation with getting out and not with giving an answer
2. put on the spot has many conotations: depends if you feel threatend by the speaker (how your brain percieves the way the question is being asked), if you would like to impress him/her, if you have too many options (you like a lot of styles of music), if you’re annoyed by the person (you than look for a generic answer ending the conversation), the world around you (maybe your brain is concentrating on something else). All these and many other factors play a role in the activity of your brain at that time. And sometimes it’s too much to compute, several areas of your brain compete to give the final answer…. which doesn’t come

Most of the thinking we do is actually passive. Ever had a logic problem, or a maths task, or other similar problem that you need to think to solve. Then you go do something totally different and don’t think about the problem at all and suddenly you realise the solution?

This is because you kept thinking about it, unconsciously. Lot of our “processing power” is reserved by the “operating system” to handle background tasks. The portion of “thinking power” we are able to consciously access is very limited. This is actually really great solution. Imagine having to consciously process everything you do all the time. Now this kind of processing of information, passively in the background isn’t that fast really.

Now when you are put on the spot, you don’t actually want to start slowly processing things, you want to access quickly the learned behaviours and responses you have, along with your instinct.

The thing with these “Name a thing quickly” or such is that, you have never had to practice naming something quickly on the spot. But if you want to be prepared for it, you can practice this response.

But we are actually really good at doing things under pressure. This is why we run drills of important things. If a fire alarm goes off, you probably know how to leave the building, call the emergency services. A EMT, doctor, or a surgeon knows how to response in an emergency situation. How to do quick diagnostics, how to stabilise a patient. This is doing things on the spot. They are using behaviours and responses that they have practices for situations like this.

Imagine when you are driving a car, and something sudden happens front of you. What do you do? Do you stop to logically analyse what happened front of you and consider how you should respond? Or do you slam the breaks to slow down and try to steer towards the safer side of the event? That is reacting under pressure right on the spot.

If you’d ask and experienced EMT, what to do when the patient gets a sudden seizure. They might not be actually able to say what they would do right away, but if put on the spot they know exactly what they should do. This is because they have learned to do these things under pressure, so having them do it outside this environment is mentally harder because they haven’t practised how to do it. They can do it, but it takes more mental effort than under pressure.

So if you want to be able to name your favourite musician on the spot under pressure, you got to practice naming your favourite musician on the spot under pressure.

This doesn’t happen to everyone tho. DISC assessment sorts personality traits in 4 groups: dominance (red), inducement (yellow), submission (green) and compliance (blue). Personality traits in every group have something in common.

Typical for people with green personality is that they prefer being alone (or only with few people they trust), not being noticed and not having attention. Why? They consider it safe and peaceful. Once you ask them something about themselves or “put them on the spot” they feel like getting too much attention which can be considered a threat.

On the other hand people with yellow personality are exactly opposite. They **love** being “put on the spot” and talk about themselves or just talk in general. It doesn’t matter who are they talking to or what are they talking about, they just want to talk and get attention. These people hate being alone or being overlooked.