Too Focused? You Might Miss Something Important

Great article on inattentional blindness. Missing the obvious, while focused on something else YOU believe is important is very common in dynamic encounters. Cops and the citizen should read this article as it an important concept to understand for those responding to dangerous circumstances and in the aftermath of police use of force situations.

The psychological and physiological effects of dynamic encounters on those who are responsible for dealing with rapidly changing circumstances and how they process information via the observation-orientation-decision and action cycle is critically important. if our orientation is wrong, then ultimately the decision we make will be less than perfect and come into question. This could be part of the reason we cops are dying in record numbers because there is too much of a rushing in mentality and not enough strategic and tactical thinking to how we handle calls, most especially dangerous calls.

"Just because an event is emotionally significant, that doesn't mean it's going to grab our attention," said Chabris, assistant professor of psychology and co-director of the neuroscience program at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y. "Our attention seems to be captured much less by important things than we think it will."

Inattentional blindness also effects us In the aftermath of a dynamic encounter as those who sit in judgment of our action often feel we were less than professional in our response or in  worst case scenario we the police are lying about what happened. A cop may survive the encounter physically only to lose professionally as the perception is “how in the hell did the cop not see that?”

"When somebody claims plausibly not to have seen something, they may be telling truth -- they may not be intentionally lying or obscuring," Simons said. "Based on what we know about the limits of attention, it was plausible that someone could have run past the fight if they were really focused on something else."

Over focusing on a certain goal, like getting to and into a location fast due to a heightened or better yet a false sense of urgency can create the factors that lead to inattentional blindness. All the more reason to develop a strategic and tactical mindset to how we respond to and approach the calls we handle.

Stay Oriented!

Fred