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Can Repeated Painful Blunt Impact Deter Approach Toward a Goal?
ARMY ARMAMENT RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT AND ENGINEERING CENTER PICATINNY ARSENAL NJ TARGET BEHAVIORAL RESPONSE LAB
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Painful blunt impact from a low-mass, high-speed projectile has been considered as a possible non-lethal weapon for deterring weakly- or moderately-motivated approach toward protected locations. The potential effectiveness of blunt impact as an avoidance motivator or approach deterrent was tested in an experiment in which human volunteers were asked to approach a protected site under both non-threat conditions and paintball repeated-threat conditions. No incentive was offered for completing the approach and shooting task. The motivation for escape or avoidance was manipulated by varying the threat of blunt impact from a paintball at three levels no threat, a hit from a single gun during each approach, and potentially multiple hits during each approach from a multi-gun array. Blunt impact compelled only 25 of subjects to escape i.e. to terminate their participation in further approaches. The threat of blunt impact did not increase avoidance, induce hesitation, nor impair shooting accuracy. Blunt impacts produced varied pain ratings, but pain was not a predictive factor in any escape, avoidance, or performance measure. Subjects who chose not to continue their approach trials did not differ on any measure from those who completed all approach trials under threat. Prior paintball experience did not predict escape likelihood. Probable selection biases suggest that these results best generalize to intrinsically motivated individuals who are not risk-averse and may be familiar with blunt impact pain.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE