[an error occurred while processing this directive] Experiment 3 Firemen

Experiment 3.

Purpose of the experiment was to investigate the effect of mental load, without information handling, on information handling capacity. It was also intended to demonstrate how a rather isolated situation is made accessible for psychometric measurement by using the BCG with LDRS unit. The experiment is hypotheses testing with regard to the effect of the mental treatment.

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Material and methods

14 Firemen had to perform the BCG task on top of a 90ft. ladder. 4 Treatment conditions were distinguished viz.

1) after the experiment.

2) before starting the climb;

3) after resting 1 minute at 15m.;

4) after resting 1 minute at the top (30m).

The mental load was considered to consists of tension caused by being more or less suspended in free space on top of the ladder. The order of increase is self explanatory.

The dependent variable was BCG performance with the LDSR-unit used on the ladder.




Results are given in the figure below.
BCG performance is shown on the vertical axis.
scien19.gif (3164 bytes)


It is obvious that the treatment has no effect on BCG performance. No further statistical analyses was considered necessary.



Going strictly by the experimental results it must be concluded that mental load caused by tension alone has no effect on information handling capacity.

The author is however, tempted to conclude that in this particular case the treatments were not providing effectual differences in tension.

The firemen climbed the ladder in a carefree routine like manner and the whole atmosphere was relaxed rather than tensed. It is the author's experience that in experiments where the tension is real (meaning an element of realistic danger is present) all individuals on the scene are tensed and not only the subjects. The condition is rather like a public holding it's breath in a circus watching the flying trapeze. When the experimenter is breath holding himself, he has a real stressor.


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