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ConflictHow Soldiers Make Impossible Descisions$
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Neil D. Shortland, Laurence J. Alison, and Joseph M. Moran

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190623449

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190623449.001.0001

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Least-Worst Decision-Making “in Extremis”

Least-Worst Decision-Making “in Extremis”

(p.138) 8 Least-Worst Decision-Making “in Extremis”

Neil D. Shortland

Laurence J. Alison

Joseph M. Moran

Oxford University Press

Given the immense physiological effect of being at war, and the unique effect this has on the physiology and psychology of the soldier, this chapter examines decisions implemented at the tactical level. It presents a dynamic, slow-burn operation to show the complicated process of implementing a least-worst decision on the ground and, importantly, how soldiers react when a plan does not work. The chapter also presents the decision-making in this case and other cases of operations on the ground to examine the psychological factors associated with successfully (and unsuccessfully) making military decisions in extremis. In many cases we examine the psychology of decision-making without referencing, or considering, the physiology of decision-making. These two are in fact intertwined and we attempt to bridge the two in this chapter.

Keywords:   in extremis, cognitive load, stress, recognition prime, physiological load, sleep, exhaustion

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