Effect of Various Environmental Stressors on Target Detection, Identification, and Marksmanship

Les Effets de Divers Stresseurs Environnementaux sur la Détection et l’Identification de Cible et l’Adresse au Tir


  1. Tikuisis, P.
  2. Keefe, A.A.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Toronto, Toronto ONT (CAN)
The advent of high resolution interactive simulation has made it possible to bring greater realism into the laboratory where experimental rigour is more easily controlled than in a field setting. Using a small arms trainer (SAT), target detection, identification, and engagement were tested under a variety of environmentally stressful conditions including heat and cold exposure, noise, fatiguing exercise, and sleep deprivation, with caffeine intervention applied in the latter two trials. Additional investigations on the efficacy of a monetary incentive on individual performance, and on differences between individual and team performances were also conducted during the noise study. Target presentations were random and varied from standing pop-ups to moving figures of both foe and friendly types appearing seldom or frequently. Performance was judged according to the number of targets detected, correct target identifications, and marksmanship. Surprisingly, none of the physiological strains caused any serious degradation in performance except fatigue, which adversely affected target detection but could be alleviated with caffeine. Generally, once a target had been detected (with or without fatigue), its engagement, which required intense but short-term focus (i.e., 6 s or less), was competently managed under significant levels of physiological strain, as if the act of detecting a target obviated the strain. The monetary incentive during the noise study failed to improve performan

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Hot exposure;cold exposure;fatigue;noise;sleep deprivation;caffeine;small arms shooting
Report Number
DRDC-TORONTO-TR-2006-258 — Technical Report
Date of publication
01 Mar 2007
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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