Friendly Fire and the Sustained Attention to Response Task

Kyle Wilson, James Head, Neil R. De Joux, Kristin M. Finkbeiner, William S. Helton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective:
We investigated whether losses of inhibitory control could be responsible for some friendly-fire incidents.

Background:
Several factors are commonly cited to explain friendly-fire incidents, but failure of inhibitory control has not yet been explored. The Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) could be a valid model for inhibition failures in some combat scenarios.

Method:
Participants completed small-arms simulations using near infrared emitter guns, confronting research assistants acting as friends or foes. In Experiment 1, seven participants completed three conditions with three different proportions of foes (high, medium, low). In Experiment 2, 13 participants completed high-foe (high-go) and low-foe (low-go) versions of a small-arms simulation as well as comparative computer tasks.

Results:
Participants made more friendly-fire errors (errors of commission) when foe proportion was high. A speed–accuracy trade-off was apparent, with participants who were faster to fire on foes also more likely to accidentally shoot friends. When foe proportion was higher, response times to foe stimuli were faster, and subjective workload ratings were higher.

Conclusion:
Failures of inhibitory control may be responsible for some friendly-fire incidents and the SART could be a suitable empirical model for some battlefield environments. The effect appears to be disproportionately greater at higher foe proportions. The exact nature of performance reductions associated with high-foe proportions requires further investigation.

Application:
The SART may be a useful model of friendly-fire scenarios. It could be used to indicate a soldier’s likelihood to commit a friendly-fire mistake and to identify high-risk environments
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1219-1234
Number of pages16
JournalHuman Factors
Volume57
Issue number7
Early online date24 Sep 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2015
Externally publishedYes

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Fires
small arms
incident
scenario
simulation
experiment
soldier
assistant
workload
stimulus
Military Personnel
Firearms
rating
Workload
Reaction Time
Experiments
Infrared radiation
performance
Computer simulation
Research

Cite this

Wilson, K., Head, J., De Joux, N. R., Finkbeiner, K. M., & Helton, W. S. (2015). Friendly Fire and the Sustained Attention to Response Task. Human Factors, 57(7), 1219-1234. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018720815605703
Wilson, Kyle ; Head, James ; De Joux, Neil R. ; Finkbeiner, Kristin M. ; Helton, William S. / Friendly Fire and the Sustained Attention to Response Task. In: Human Factors. 2015 ; Vol. 57, No. 7. pp. 1219-1234.
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Wilson, K, Head, J, De Joux, NR, Finkbeiner, KM & Helton, WS 2015, 'Friendly Fire and the Sustained Attention to Response Task', Human Factors, vol. 57, no. 7, pp. 1219-1234. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018720815605703

Friendly Fire and the Sustained Attention to Response Task. / Wilson, Kyle; Head, James; De Joux, Neil R.; Finkbeiner, Kristin M.; Helton, William S.

In: Human Factors, Vol. 57, No. 7, 01.11.2015, p. 1219-1234.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Friendly Fire and the Sustained Attention to Response Task

AU - Wilson, Kyle

AU - Head, James

AU - De Joux, Neil R.

AU - Finkbeiner, Kristin M.

AU - Helton, William S.

PY - 2015/11/1

Y1 - 2015/11/1

N2 - Objective:We investigated whether losses of inhibitory control could be responsible for some friendly-fire incidents.Background:Several factors are commonly cited to explain friendly-fire incidents, but failure of inhibitory control has not yet been explored. The Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) could be a valid model for inhibition failures in some combat scenarios.Method:Participants completed small-arms simulations using near infrared emitter guns, confronting research assistants acting as friends or foes. In Experiment 1, seven participants completed three conditions with three different proportions of foes (high, medium, low). In Experiment 2, 13 participants completed high-foe (high-go) and low-foe (low-go) versions of a small-arms simulation as well as comparative computer tasks.Results:Participants made more friendly-fire errors (errors of commission) when foe proportion was high. A speed–accuracy trade-off was apparent, with participants who were faster to fire on foes also more likely to accidentally shoot friends. When foe proportion was higher, response times to foe stimuli were faster, and subjective workload ratings were higher.Conclusion:Failures of inhibitory control may be responsible for some friendly-fire incidents and the SART could be a suitable empirical model for some battlefield environments. The effect appears to be disproportionately greater at higher foe proportions. The exact nature of performance reductions associated with high-foe proportions requires further investigation.Application:The SART may be a useful model of friendly-fire scenarios. It could be used to indicate a soldier’s likelihood to commit a friendly-fire mistake and to identify high-risk environments

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KW - Fratricide

KW - Military

KW - Blue on blue

KW - Response inhibition

KW - Motor decoupling

KW - Attention

KW - Speed-accuracy trade-off

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DO - 10.1177/0018720815605703

M3 - Article

VL - 57

SP - 1219

EP - 1234

JO - Human Factors

JF - Human Factors

SN - 0018-7208

IS - 7

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Wilson K, Head J, De Joux NR, Finkbeiner KM, Helton WS. Friendly Fire and the Sustained Attention to Response Task. Human Factors. 2015 Nov 1;57(7):1219-1234. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018720815605703