Recently, while searching for some information on mirror neurons (maybe I'll write something about that later), I happened upon a very interesting scientific blog: "AlphaPsy: Humanities and Human Nature." It's a blog about recent findings in such fields as human evolution, psychology, neuropsychology, anthropology and the like. Very interesting stuff here.
Reports of a study about "unconscious priming." It seems that events long lost to conscious memory have a way of remaining in the unconscious to influence us later in life. It reminds me a lot of what Buddhists call the alaya- or storehouse consciousness. For me, it lends weight to the idea of karma -- that all of our actions matter. As AlphaPsy says: " if you wrong somebody, you might want to play the forgiveness and not the forgetfulness card..."
How we might just really perform better under pressure: "pressure is thought to affect performances because it interferes with explicit thought processes (you might think of these processes as inner speech - more or less). But it is know[sic] that in some tasks, explicit thought processes actually hinder participants. So in theses tasks, pressure should increase performance."
This makes a case for Zen meditation and the practice of mindfulness generally: letting go of the "inner speech" and just doing what needs to be done.
By the way, the authors of this blog appear to be French. Viva La France! One of my favorite countries.