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The effects of stress on attentional resourcesA new perspective is presented from which to view the action of stress on human behavior. At a behavioral level, the action of stress is related to notions of human attention and an indication of an isomorphic relationship between modes of control at a physiological and behavioral level is presented. Examples of this phenomenon are extracted from performance under heat stress, since this is one of the most simple stress circumstances. It is suggested that stress sufficient to overcome adaptive capability, that is efficient homeostasis, acts to drain attentional resources. The manner in which such resources fail approximates that function typical of a positive feedback system, which also characterizes the breakdown of physiological response under severe environmental stress. The end point of this draining sequence is the absence of all attentional resources, which is taken to be unconsciousness, to be rapidly followed by the failure of physiological adaptability upon which life sustaining functions depend. This overall picture preserves the inverted-U shaped relationship between stress and performance, yet is in distinct contrast to the traditional arousal account of such behavior. The theoretical and practical ramifications of these observations are explored.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Hancock, P. A.
(California Univ. Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Chignell, M. H.
(California Univ. Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
May 1, 1986
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Ames Research Center, 21st Annual Conference on Manual Control
Subject Category
Man/System Technology And Life Support
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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