National Academies Press: OpenBook

In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance (1991)

Chapter:Part IV Performing

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Suggested Citation:"Part IV Performing." National Research Council. 1991. In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1580.
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PART IV

Performing

IN THIS PART WE DISCUSS ISSUES concerning ways to optimize the performance of individuals and teams, particularly by interventions that take place just prior to or during actual performance. The committee's decision to divide this topic into two chapters was based on the view that what works for individual performers may not work for groups. This view is supported by results of numerous studies on group problem solving: for example, unlike individuals, groups must deal with coordination problems with respect to the pooling and processing of information and a division of tasks.

An increasingly popular topic for psychologists is research on performance in sports. The literature to date has contributed both to the further development of theories of performance under pressure and to understanding of performance in a variety of individual and team sports. Continuing the committee's work on effects of mental practice (Druckman and Swets, 1988:Chapter 5), the discussion in Chapter 11 summarizes the results of studies conducted since the earlier report appeared. A number of other practical implications are suggested by the research summarized in this chapter, which covers preperformance interventions, the use of preparation rituals, the use of physiological indicators to assist in determining effective performance, and the use of exercise. The rapid increase of knowledge in this field suggests a virtually unlimited potential for contributions to understanding and improving performance under pressure.

Suggested Citation:"Part IV Performing." National Research Council. 1991. In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1580.
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Shifting the focus from individual to group performance, Chapter 12 emphasizes the need to invest in long-term research on groups that perform in operational environments. This topic has received very little attention in the research and development community. Although the academic research to date has some implications for improving suboptimal group performance, it is limited by a failure to capture a number of critical dimensions present in actual group situations. By elucidating some of these dimensions, the chapter provides a framework for designing laboratory and field studies that are relevant to the types of situations found in a variety of military and industrial organizations. There is much to be learned about the way that groups perform; this chapter provides guidance on how to proceed.

Suggested Citation:"Part IV Performing." National Research Council. 1991. In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1580.
×
Page191
Suggested Citation:"Part IV Performing." National Research Council. 1991. In the Mind's Eye: Enhancing Human Performance. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1580.
×
Page192
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The archer stands and pulls back the bow, visualizing the path of the arrow to the target. Does this mental exercise enhance performance? Can we all use such techniques to improve performance in our daily lives?

In the Mind's Eye addresses these and other intriguing questions. This volume considers basic issues of performance, exploring how techniques for quick learning affect long-term retention, whether an expert's behavior can serve as a model for beginners, if team performance is the sum of individual members' performances, and whether subliminal learning has a basis in science.

The book also considers meditation and some other pain control techniques. Deceit and the ability to detect deception are explored in detail. In the area of self-assessment techniques for career development, the volume evaluates the widely used Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.

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