Paratroopers, predictability, perception, and policing

Jumping out of a moving airplane and parachuting down to a specific target is terrifying. In fact, I am not alone in this perception. Military paratroopers are among the most elite military positions. Do you think a newly admitted paratrooper-trainee is prepared to meet the psychological demands of jumping out of a moving airplane? I imagine not; in fact, it is normal for a paratrooper soldier to experience an exaggerated stress response during their first jump, and second, and third, etc. The stress experience BEFORE the jump is also considerable as the soldier has little idea what to expect, this is the first experience. The training of a paratrooper then must incorporate insight into the natural stress reactions before, during, and after a jump from a moving airplane. Too much stress can impact cognitive functioning and actually lead to performance risks. During the first jump there is a considerable stress response, as we have noted. However after each successful subsequent jump what we notice is a tendency for the stress response to become less intense and also less in duration, both during the jump as well as before. Why? Well, one of the major factors for this is that after each jump the soldier learns what to expect. Having a degree of predictability can impact the intensity of a stressor. At the same time the soldier also has learned how to manage the task at hand. So there is not just the predictability of what to expect, but also the perception of being able to handle it. Through repeated exposures to the event the emotional responses of a stressful...
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