Patterns of fidelity between training and criterion situations as determinants of performance in stressful situations

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Abstract

The training of individuals for task performance under stress poses a dilemma concerning the degree to which stressor characteristics of the criterion situation should be represented with a high degree of fidelity during training. High fidelity training is likely to reduce the novelty of the criterion situation and familiarize the trainee with his emotional and physiological reactions to stress. On the other hand, the exposure of the trainee to high stress levels during training might interfere with task acquisition and intensify his fears and emotional sensitivity. This difficulty might be overcome with “graduated fidelity training” whereby the trainee is exposed to gradually increasing stressor intensities, starting with very low intensities and reaching, by the end of training, criterion- level stressor intensities. The empirical evaluation of this method, carried out in the present study, suggested that it is potentially more effective than high fidelity training. However, two conditions are necessary for the realization of this potential effectiveness. First, the trainee must be informed about the upper limit of stressor intensity which he might encounter in the course of training. In the absence of such information, graduated fidelity training might become highly ineffective. Second, the trainee has to perceive high quality performance as being instrumental for the removal or attenuation of stressors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-61
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Human Stress
Volume8
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1982

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