Does stress training generalize to novel settings?

Hum Factors. Spring 2001;43(1):99-110. doi: 10.1518/001872001775992471.


Many high-stress task environments are complex and dynamic, and it is often difficult during training to anticipate the exact conditions that may be encountered in these settings. We conducted an empirical study to examine whether the positive effects of stress training that addressed one specific type of stressor and task would remain when trainees performed under a novel stressor or performed a novel task. Participants performed a laboratory task under stress conditions. Measures of task performance and self-reported stress were obtained at three performance trials: (a) prior to stress training, (b) after a stress training intervention targeted to that specific task environment, and (c) under novel stressor/task conditions. Results indicated that the beneficial effects of stress training were retained when participants performed under a novel stressor and performed a novel task. We discuss the implications of this study with regard to their application in the design of stress training and the transfer of learning to complex, dynamic task environments.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Attention
  • Efficiency
  • Female
  • Generalization, Psychological*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Problem Solving*
  • Social Environment*
  • Stress, Psychological / complications*
  • Transfer, Psychology
  • Workload / psychology