Training perceptual-cognitive skills: can sport psychology research inform military decision training?

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Ward, P, Farrow, Damian, Harris, K, Williams, A, Eccles, D and Ericsson, K (2008) Training perceptual-cognitive skills: can sport psychology research inform military decision training? Military Psychology, 20 (SUPP.1). S71-S102. ISSN 0899-5605 (print) 1532-7876 (online)


In military and sports tasks, individuals are often required to perform in a complex and dynamic environment and obtain a tactical advantage over an opponent even when only partial or incomplete information is available. Successful performance in both domains is typically dependent upon the ability to work both independently and as a team in an effective manner by combining perceptual, cognitive, motor, and social skills, often under stressful circumstances. Despite these similarities, and the extensive literature bases amassed on training in each field, there has been little, if any, cross-fertilization or collaboration. We offer a synopsis of perceptual-cognitive and decision skills training research from the fields of sport psychology, expert performance, human factors, and military psychology with a view toward highlighting commonalities and differences in approach to training. Attention is drawn to the experimental designs and interventions employed, as well as methodological shortcomings and how these have been addressed. In addition, we highlight the differences in how training recommendations have been derived, discuss questions that have been raised in developing and validating training programs, and, in particular, emphasize the need for evidence-based practice. Our aim is to offer conclusions from the sport psychology literature that can inform the design, structure, content, and implementation of future military decision training.

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Item type Article
DOI 10.1080/08995600701804814
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1701 Psychology
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Keywords ResPubID22046. cognition, anticipation, cognitive engineering, event-based training, stress-based training, critical thinking skills, situation awareness, decision-making, elite athletes
Citations in Scopus 67 - View on Scopus
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