Effect of Stress on Decision Making Essay

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Effect of Stress on Decision Making Stress must be present to ensure our very being. One may wonder about the validity of this statement, but it is quite true. Stress plays a vital role in the way we make decisions (Massa et al, 2002, pg 1). “Problem solving and decision making in demanding real-world situations can be susceptible to acute stress effects which manifest in a variety of ways depending on the type of decision. The negative effects of an overload of acute stress include attentional tunneling, working memory loss, and restrictions in long term memory retrieval, with simple strategies being favoured over more complicated ones. The underlying assumption is that stress can lead to errors, poor performance and bad decisions.…show more content…
Symptoms of stress with the most impact on decision making are those which affect the process of thinking. Under great stress, the process of thinking is characterized by loss of concentration, inability to perceive new information, hampered short-term memory, Rumination, lack of initial planning of actions, and hasty decision making. (Massa et al, 2002, pg 3). According to Flin (1997, pg 183), Stress can produce an impressive catalogue of debilitating effects on decision making, performance. Typical reported problems are narrowing of attention (tunnel vision), lack of concentration, over reliance on heuristics and rules of thumb, and susceptibility to decision biases. A good definition of stress, which summarizes its relationship with decision making, is that stress is a demand made upon the adaptive capacities of the mind and body. The idea is if these capacities can handle the demand and enjoy the stimulation involved, then stress is welcome and helpful. The definition shows that stress can be both good and bad, it is our reaction to stress that matters, and if our capacities are good we will respond well. Thus, the effectiveness of a decision maker under stress depends on his/her capacities (Thinking and Decision Making Under Stress (online)). Stressors are events or situations that induce stress. It is
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