Persistence of anxiety-induced errors in police offers' shooting decisions

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

This study tested whether threat-induced errors in police officers' shooting decisions may be prevented through practice. Using a video-based test, 57 Police officers executed shooting responses against a suspect who rapidly appeared with (shoot) or without (don't shoot) a firearm. Threat was manipulated by switching on (high-threat) or switching off (low-threat) a "shootback canon" that could fire small plastic bullets at the officers. After an initial pretest, officers were divided over four different practice groups and practiced their shooting decisions for three consecutive weeks. Effects of practice were evaluated on a posttest. On the pretest, all groups experienced more anxiety and executed more false-positive responses under high-threat. Despite practice, these effects persisted on the posttest and remained equally strong for all practice groups. It is concluded that the impact of threat on police officers' shooting decisions is robust and may be hard to prevent within the limits of available practice.
LanguageEnglish
Pages263-272
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Volume48
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Police
Law enforcement
persistence
police
Anxiety
threat
anxiety
police officer
group practice
Firearms
Plastics
Fires
video
Group

Cite this

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abstract = "This study tested whether threat-induced errors in police officers' shooting decisions may be prevented through practice. Using a video-based test, 57 Police officers executed shooting responses against a suspect who rapidly appeared with (shoot) or without (don't shoot) a firearm. Threat was manipulated by switching on (high-threat) or switching off (low-threat) a {"}shootback canon{"} that could fire small plastic bullets at the officers. After an initial pretest, officers were divided over four different practice groups and practiced their shooting decisions for three consecutive weeks. Effects of practice were evaluated on a posttest. On the pretest, all groups experienced more anxiety and executed more false-positive responses under high-threat. Despite practice, these effects persisted on the posttest and remained equally strong for all practice groups. It is concluded that the impact of threat on police officers' shooting decisions is robust and may be hard to prevent within the limits of available practice.",
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Persistence of anxiety-induced errors in police offers' shooting decisions. / Nieuwenhuys, A.; Savelsbergh, G.J.P.; Oudejans, R.R.D.

In: Applied Ergonomics, Vol. 48, 2015, p. 263-272.

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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