Visual Focus and Tactical Decision-Making Under Stress: What, Where, When, and How?

In this second podcast we talked about an important topic: Gaze Control (attention) and Tactical Decision-Making Under Stress in Active-Duty Police Officers During a Live Use-of-Force Response. Police work consists largely of “watching closely. That’s more than just looking with your eyes but, more importantly, reading “cues. How and where do police officers develop this? In the academy? On the street? Under high pressure, ‘visual dominance’ increases ( Colavita effect) and phenomena occur that influence visual attention ( stimulus-driven attentional system disproportionately taxes cognitive resources, increases physiological responses, reduces performance, modifies gaze characteristics, and results in heightened distractibility from relevant cues. But before we get into the study, we first lay a strong foundation. Among other things, we talk about the importance of skill training and its threats from silo and block training. And thus the perishability of skills in police “use of force” training. We also cover the importance of “game knowledge” development in the training of police officers. Later on Nideffer’s four quadrants of attention, narrow external focus and Quiet eye come into play! All first responder teachers: learn 1.5 hours from Dr. Lewinski!


Research: Visual Focus – What, Where, When, and How?
Gaze control
Previous studies on police gaze control
Force science research book
Game Knowledge and police academy training
Skill development and police academy training
Perishability of skills in police “use of force” / police academy study
Degradation of skills and stress
Movement speed and degradation of skills
Handgun training
Block and silo training problem
Research on effect of simulation training, VR and fidelity
Startle research
Attention resources are limited
Vision and attention and the Colavita visual dominance effect
Focal vision and tunnel vision
Peripheral vision
How do I know if I am in the tunnel (vision)
The role of schema’s /reading cues
Hood drill Seals
Scan pattern training
More cues than threat cues
Vision and emotion
The function of freezing
Challenge versus threat
Nideffer’s four “quadrants” of attention focus
External narrow attention focus
Case consultation shooting LA
Research: Gaze control and tactical decision-making under stress among active police officers during a live violence exercise
How to create physical and psychological stress
Tracking eye scan
Summary by Erik
Ineffective and effective scanning patterns
The role of tactical training
The role of experience
Training mindset and training culture
South Dakota experience
How is effective scanning developed
Game sense
Can we teach effective scanning
Visual (eye) training
5 minutes of training every day
Teaching awareness of gaze control
Reading behavioral cues
Who can teach us what to look for?
Reading people and signals and being aware of bias
What is the “Quiet Eye”and how do you train it?
Closing thoughts


Three Force Science Peer-Reviewed Articles Published

Gaze Control and Tactical Decision-Making Under Stress in Active-Duty Police Officers During a Live Use-of-Force Response – Force Science