Stress and Human Performance

By James E. Driskell; Eduardo Salas | Go to book overview

1
Introduction: The Study
of Stress and Human
Performance

Eduardo Salas

Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division

James E. Driskell

Sandra Hughes

Florida Maxima Corporation

A wonderful concept is "stress" --
What it means is anyone's guess.
Though it's fun to be clinical
and rude to be cynical,
operationally it is a mess!
-- Parsons, cited in Weitz ( 1966)

The topic of stress is approached by many with trepidation because it is a difficult and often confusing subject. Stress is a psychological concept and as such is not concrete--it cannot be touched or perceived directly. Therefore, many who deal with "real-world" matters day in and day out may prefer not to deal with the topic of stress at all. During a meeting on stress and military performance attended by one of the present authors, one officer stood up and said, "There is no stress in my organization--I will not allow it!" Another officer said, "I want my people to be stressed, it keeps them on their toes." After hearing several such statements, one of those present who was responsible for training remarked, "Let's just make sure our personnel know how to perform their jobs, and forget about stress."

Sitting in that meeting (having chosen, wisely, not to launch into a speech on the merits of scientific inquiry), several thoughts came to mind. First, it was obvious that stress means many things to many people. For every one person who says that stress helped him storm the beach at Iwo Jima, there is another person who says that stress almost caused her to miss a landing approach while piloting an aircraft. Second, some discussed stress in positive terms, some discussed stress in negative terms, and some obviously preferred not to discuss stress at all. Third, it seemed that the trainer's hesitance not to tackle such an

-1-

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Stress and Human Performance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Series in Applied Psychology ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • List of Contributors xiii
  • Introduction - The Study Of Stress and Human Performance 1
  • References 37
  • 1 - Stress Effects 47
  • Acknowledgements 84
  • 3 - Stress and Military Performance 89
  • Acknowledgments 116
  • 4 - Stress and Aircrew Performance: A Team-Level Perspective 127
  • Epilogue 159
  • Epilogue 160
  • 5 - Moderating the Performance Effects of Stressors 163
  • References 189
  • II - Interventions: Selection, Training, and System Design 193
  • 6 - Selection of Personnel for Hazardous Performance 195
  • Acknowledgement 219
  • 7 - Training for Stress Exposure 223
  • 8 - Training Effective Performance Under Stress: Queries, Dilemmas, and Possible Solutions 257
  • References 273
  • 9 - Designing for Stress 279
  • Author Index 297
  • Subject Index 311
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