14 Team Decisions & Fatigued Individuals

Based on Research by Daniel Frings, Ph.D.  Psychology Science Minute written by Juanita N. Baker, Ph.D.

Psychology Science Minute brought to you by the School of Psychology at Florida Institute of Technology, I’m Dr. Sarah Arnett.

Emergency workers, military, students, and doctors are often subject to long hours, fatigue and stress, yet often have to solve problems and make crucial decisions.  Often we find ourselves under stress and trauma so what does research indicate we might do to help us?

During the course of a weekend military training exercise, psychologist Dr. Daniel Frings of London, had 171 army cadets attempt to solve a series of problems either alone or in a team, and while either reasonably alert (nonfatigued) or fatigued through sleep deficit. Participants in the fatigue condition were subjected to intensive teaching, vigorous exercise, and systematically being woken up during their 5 hour sleep period for an hour of watch duty each night in cold, rainy, outdoor conditions.  Fatigued problem solvers working alone showed inflexible thinking, decreased ability to shift task sets, and an overreliance on previously identified solutions in comparison to the non-fatigued. In addition, fatigued problem solvers working in groups did not. Also teams with one group member who was relatively less fatigued experienced less difficulty problem solving than other groups.

So team up and problem solve with others to make better decisions when under stressful conditions!  And, add a rested team member periodically.

That’s your Florida Tech Psychology Science Minute. I’m Dr. Sarah Arnett.


Frings, D. (2011). The Effects of Group Monitoring on Fatigue-Related Einstellung During Mathematical Problem Solving. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied,17(4), 371-381.

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