Human Performance under Climatic Stress and the Fallacy of the 'Average' Soldier: Potentially Serious Implications for Military Operations in Extreme Climates
ARMY RESEARCH INST OF ENVIRONMENTAL MEDICINE NATICK MA
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Normative research grossly misconceives the extent of differences among soldiers in all aspects of functioning and leads to what may be called the fallacy of the average soldier. Research examples clearly illustrate the fallacy and its potential for exposing certain individuals to unwarranted life- threatening risks. An alternative to normative research assumes and studies the systematic differences between people. Selecting special troops for arctic duty is discussed as one application of this type of approach. A comparison of the orientation of American and Soviet research on human behavior in extreme cold suggests that cultural and other background factors can account for the Soviet emphasis on individual differences as contrasted with the American normative orientation. A change in research emphasis in this country from normative to individual is stresses as essential for military effectiveness in extreme environments.
- Stress Physiology
- Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems