The influence of short-term firefighting activity on information processing performance

Tina A. Greenlee, Gavin Horn, Denise L. Smith, George Fahey, Eric Goldstein, Steven J. Petruzzello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This study examined the following: effects of simulated firefighting (FF) activities under heat stress on sustained attention; whether incident rehabilitation (IR) influences performance; and relationships between performance, affect and personality. Firefighters performed ~18 min of FF. Attention, physiological, perceptual and psychological assessments were made before and after FF, IR and recovery. IR had no effects. Self-rated Energy increased, Tiredness decreased and Anxiety increased immediately post-FF; all returned to baseline 120 min post. The immediate effect of FF was faster reaction time (RT) followed by slowing after recovery. Perceived Energy at baseline was associated (p-values < 0.05) with faster and Tiredness with slower post-FF RTs; Accuracy was unaffected. Conscientiousness was negatively associated with RT before and 120 min following FF. RTs were faster following FF, accuracy was unchanged. Higher baseline Energy/lower Tiredness were associated with faster, less variable RTs at baseline and post-FF. Those with higher Conscientiousness had faster RTs. Research should further investigate higher-level cognitive processing following, or ideally during, FF. Practitioner Summary: This study examined the effects of simulated firefighting (FF) activities on sustained attention and affect. Energy and Anxiety increased, Tiredness decreased immediately post-FF. The immediate effect of FF was faster reaction time (RT) followed by slowing after recovery; accuracy was unaffected. Higher baseline Energy/lower Tiredness were associated with faster, less variable RTs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)764-773
Number of pages10
JournalErgonomics
Volume57
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2014

Keywords

  • anxiety
  • cognitive processing
  • energy
  • firefighting
  • reaction time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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