Vigilant and hypervigilant decision making

J Appl Psychol. 1997 Aug;82(4):614-22. doi: 10.1037/0021-9010.82.4.614.


Recent studies have argued that deficient decision making under stress is due to adoption of a hypervigilant style of decision making, which has been characterized as disorganized and inefficient. However, under the conditions that characterize many real-world or naturalistic tasks, a hypervigilant pattern of decision making may be adaptive, because the decision maker does not have the luxury of implementing a more elaborate analytic procedure. This study examined the effectiveness of vigilant and hypervigilant decision-making strategies on a naturalistic task. Results indicated that participants who used a hypervigilant decision-making strategy performed better than those who used a vigilant strategy. Implications for decision making in naturalistic environments are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Arousal*
  • Decision Making*
  • Humans
  • Military Personnel
  • Stress, Psychological