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Attention, Performance, and Sustained Activation in Military Air Traffic Controllers,

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Trained military air traffic controllers report increased anxiety following, and demonstrate increased heart rate and urinary levels of epinephrine during a session of ground control interception. This type of activation has not detrimental effects on health, and is probably necessary for efficient performance even in well trained and coping personnel. There was also some rise in plasma levels of cortisol, but no other endocrine signs of any general activation. However, if the coping potential of the men is threatened, in a real life situation, the activation picture is expected to be totally different, with a general activation which is far more taxing both on the information treating capacity and on the brain biochemistry. Psychological defense mechanisms will then be activated, which also impede performance. These physiological and physiological mechanisms are difficult to mimic, and occur only when the individual feels a real danger and threat to his or her coping potential.

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This article is from 'Sustained Intensive Air Operations: Physiological and Performance Aspects', AD-A139 324, p22-1--22-10.




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