Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Building a transdisciplinary expert consensus on the cognitive drivers of performance under pressure: an international multi-panel Delphi study.

Albertella, Lucy; Kirkham, Rebecca; Adler, Amy B.; Flin, Rhona


Lucy Albertella

Rebecca Kirkham

Amy B. Adler


The ability to perform optimally under pressure is critical across many occupations, including the military, first responders and competitive sport. Despite recognition that such performance depends on a range of cognitive factors, how common these factors are across performance domains remains unclear. The current study sought to integrate existing knowledge in the performance field in the form of a transdisciplinary expert consensus on the cognitive mechanisms that underlie performance under pressure. International experts were recruited from four performance domains: (i) defense; (ii) competitive sport; (iii) civilian high-stakes; and (iv) performance neuroscience. Experts rated constructs from the Research Domain Criteria (RDoC) framework (and several expert-suggested constructs) across successive rounds, until all constructs reached consensus for inclusion or were eliminated. Finally, included constructs were ranked for their relative importance. Sixty-eight experts completed the first Delphi round, with 94% of experts retained by the end of the Delphi process. The following 10 constructs reached consensus across all four panels (in order of overall ranking): (1) attention; (2) cognitive control-performance monitoring; (3) arousal and regulatory systems-arousal; (4) cognitive control-goal selection, updating, representation and maintenance; (5) cognitive control-response selection and inhibition/suppression; (6) working memory-flexible updating; (7) working memory-active maintenance; (8) perception and understanding of self-self-knowledge; (9) working memory-interference control; and (10) expert-suggested-shifting. Our results identify a set of transdisciplinary neuroscience-informed constructs, validated through expert consensus. This expert consensus is critical to standardizing cognitive assessment and informing mechanism-targeted interventions in the broader field of human performance optimization.


ALBERTELLA, L., KIRKHAM, R., ADLER, A.B. et al. 2023. Building a transdisciplinary expert consensus on the cognitive drivers of performance under pressure: an international multi-panel Delphi study. Frontiers in psychology [online], 13, article 1017675. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 2, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 18, 2023
Publication Date Dec 31, 2023
Deposit Date Nov 29, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 29, 2022
Journal Frontiers in psychology
Electronic ISSN 1664-1078
Publisher Frontiers Media
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Article Number 1017675
Keywords Human performance optimisation; Performance psychology; Performance assessment; Cognition; Assessment; Expert consensus; High performance; Transdisciplinary
Public URL
Additional Information This article has been published with separate supporting information. This supporting information has been incorporated into a single file on this repository and can be found at the end of the file associated with this output.


ALBERTELLA 2023 Building a transdisciplinary (VOR) (3.1 Mb)


Copyright Statement
© 2022 Albertella, Kirkham, Adler, Crampton, Drummond, Fogarty, Gross, Zaichkowsky, Andersen, Bartone, Boga, Bond, Brunyé, Campbell, Ciobanu, Clark, Crane, Dietrich, Doty, Driskell, Fahsing, Fiore, Flin, Funke, Gatt, Hancock, Harper, Heathcote, Heaton, Helsen, Hussey, Jackson, Khemlani, Killgore, Kleitman, Lane, Loft, MacMahon, Marcora, McKenna, Meijen, Moulton, Moyle, Nalivaiko, O’Connor, O’Conor, Patton, Piccolo, Ruiz, Schücker, Smith, Smith, Sobrino, Stetz, Stewart, Taylor, Tucker, van Stralen, Vickers, Visser, Walker, Wiggins, Williams, Wong, Aidman and Yücel.

AAM updated to VOR 13.02.2023

You might also like

Downloadable Citations