Psychology on the Battlefield

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Cannae. . Stress on the battlefield. ConfusionAuditory and visual stimulationFight or Flight responseFeelings of controlMechanisms that inhibit killingCan all be overcome through training techniquesExposure to aversive stimuliRoutinize responses to dangerGives illusion, at least, of control.

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Psychology on the Battlefield

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1. Psychology on the Battlefield Armies uses psychological techniques to Minimize stress to own units Maximize stress to opposing units Battles and wars sometimes won using psychological tactics Medieval strategy of allowing false escape Can be reversed Cannae

3. Stress on the battlefield Confusion Auditory and visual stimulation Fight or Flight response Feelings of control Mechanisms that inhibit killing Can all be overcome through training techniques Exposure to aversive stimuli Routinize responses to danger Gives illusion, at least, of control

4. Morale Morale effects Combat effectiveness Unit cohesion Casualty rates Withdrawal from combat rates Factors that influence morale Propaganda Support from civilian population Personal news from home Perception that “command” is concerned for troops Battlefield success

5. Improving morale Controlled information access “Tour” system Front-line unit rotation Fostering camaraderie Listed as primary battlefield motivation Providing entertainment and “rewards” Visits from high command

6. Battlefield fatigue Acute stress reaction to intense warfare conditions Can involve psychosis or conversion symptoms Becomes danger to self and others Decreases morale Difficult to contain in some settings (i.e. naval) Goal is to reduce stress then return to unit Military psychologists Also reduced via training

7. Military Psychology Subsection of clinical psychology Testing troops for task placement Counseling for troops Life stress and battlefield fatigue Participation in interrogations Controversial Involvement in psychological warfare

8. Psychological warfare Reduce opponents willingness or capability to fight Can be positive or negative “shock and awe” versus “hearts and minds” Mongol tactics Surrender or massacre Present illusion of increased numbers Lights or sound Diversionary tactics Ex. Patton’s FUSAG in WWII

9. Psychological warfare techniques Informational Discharge pamphlets encouraging submission or desertion In Iraq, depictions of surrendering Iraqis with bearded US troops treating them to fruit dish White/gray/black Using radio/television Radio Free Europe, VOA, etc. Using irritating noises at high volumes against people under seige Also bright lights Broadcasting “white noise” Appears to be coded signal Taunting enemies to get them to leave hiding places

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