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Operational Neuroscience: Neurophysiological Measures in Applied Environments

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Kruse AA. Operational neuroscience: neurophysiological measures in applied environments. Aviat Space Environ Med 2007; 78(5, Suppl.):B191–B194.

There is, without question, an interest within the military services to understand, account for, and adapt to the cognitive state of the individual warfighter. As the field of neuroscience has matured through investments from numerous government agencies, we are on the cusp of being able to move confidently from the lab into the field—and deepen our understanding of the cognitive issues embedded in the warfighting environment. However, as we edge closer to this integration—it is critical for researchers in this arena to understand the landscape they are entering—reflected not only in the challenges of each task or operational environment but also in the individual differences intrinsic to each warfighter. The research papers in this section cover this spectrum, including individual differences and their prediction of adaptability to high-stress environments, the influence of sleep-deprivation on neurophysiological measures of stimulus categorization, neurophysiological measures of stress in the training environment and, finally, real-time neural measures of task engagement, mental workload and vigilance. It is clear from this research, and other work detailed in this supplement, that the judicious use of neuroscience, cognitive psychology, and physiology in the applied environment is desirable for both researchers and operators. In fact, we suggest that these investigations merit a field designation unto their own: Operational Neuroscience. It is our hope that the discussion of this new field of study will galvanize others to increase the confidence and utility of this research through their own investigations.
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Keywords: cognitive state; individual differences; neuroergonomics; operational neuroscience; operator functional state; training

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2007

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