Stress and Human Performance

Stress and Human Performance

Stress and Human Performance

Stress and Human Performance

Synopsis

As technology expands, as airplanes become faster and airways more crowded, as Naval battleships become more lethal, as decisions to launch or not launch a space shuttle become more complex, the demands imposed by these systems increase. Those who work in these settings face an environment in which they must perform under more time pressure and under greater task load, in which stress is more prevalent, and in which the consequences of poor performance are more critical than ever before. This book is about stress and performance. It is not about stress-related disorders, clinical interventions, or coping. Most books on stress invariably devote a considerable amount of pages to disordered behavior, illness, and treatment, and yet there are typically precious few pages devoted to performance and effectiveness under stress. This work is meant to fill this gap. The primary characteristic that distinguishes this volume from other related texts is its specific focus on how stress impacts performance and on interventions to overcome these effects.

Excerpt

There is a compelling need for innovative approaches to the solution of many pressing problems involving human relationships in today's society. Such approaches are more likely to be successful when they are based on sound research and applications. This Series in Applied Psychology offers publications that emphasize state-of-the-art research and its application to important issues of human behavior in a variety of societal settings. The objective is to bridge both academic and applied interests.

This volume, entitled Stress and Human Performance, deals with an important area of concern to researchers and practitioners in many fields. The concept of stress has been difficult to pin down and has been loosely defined in a number of different contexts. In the present volume, James Driskell and Eduardo Salas have brought leading researchers together from a variety of different contexts; their common focus is the influence of stress on various aspects of human performance. Thus, the book provides a coherent and comprehensive treatment of the subject that will be of interest to everyone concerned with factors affecting human performance.

Specifically, human performance refers to people doing things--performing a task, carrying out a procedure, solving a problem, or doing some type of work or activity. Some tasks are relatively simple, such as typing on a computer keyboard, and some tasks are more complex, such as piloting an aircraft. It is difficult enough for people to learn to perform these types of tasks well in a normal setting, as the literature on skill acquisition and training attests. However, it is far more difficult to perform these tasks under real-world, high stress conditions that may include time pressure, noise, novel or threatening events, various people making demands or requests, and other distractions.

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