Stress and Human Performance

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

3
Stress and Military
Performance

Judith M. Orasanu

NASA-Ames Research Center

Patricia Backer

San Jose State University

Combat with its very real threat of death or mutilation might represent the ultimate in naturally occurring events of stress. -- Bourne ( 1970, p. 22)

Military training aims to prepare personnel to perform under life-threatening conditions, often in sweltering heat or freezing cold, wearing clumsy protective garments, in situations that are highly ambiguous, and where individual soldiers, sailors, or airmen have little apparent control over their fates. Modern military training incorporates many stressors in an effort to "harden" personnel for the rigors of combat; however, much of that training is nonspecific with respect to stressors and uninformed with respect to predicted performance enhancements. In their review of 35 articles and books on combat stress, Michel and Solick ( 1983) found that neither the exact amount of performance degradation nor proof of the nature or source of those degradations could be determined from the literature.

The debilitating effects of stress on military performance have been long recognized. Stress effects during the Normandy campaign of World War II were such that "the soldier was slow-witted; he was slow to comprehend orders, directions, and techniques. . . . Memory defects became so extreme that he could not be counted upon to relay a verbal order" (cited in ] Siegel et al., 1981, p. 13). Marshall ( 1947) also reported that in World War II only a small percentage of combat troops actually fired their weapons in combat because of the stress they perceived. Labuc ( 1981) found that especially fearful to soldiers is the prospect of artillery shelling accompanied by loud noise, smoke, earth tremor,

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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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