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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2002 6:58 am 
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This weekend Tony-san was a guest at my house and we watched __ Physio-Psychological Aspects of Violent Encounters, Massad Ayoob, 120 minutes, LFI, $59.95

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>This is a videotape of one of Ayoob's LFI lectures. He begins by stating that if you understand the physio-psychological aspects of violent encounters -- if you know what's happening to you -- you are less apt to fear them.

He also points out that if you are involved in a violent incident, your perception of it may differ from what others see -- or what's on the videotape from the store's security camera. Understanding these altered perceptions can be a key to subsequent (courtroom) credibility.

All these effects are expressions of body alarm reaction -- increased pulse, blood pressure, and respiration, plus the instant supercharge of adrenaline dump.

Body alarm reaction finds its highest expression in the "fight or flight reflex." The latter was first quantified and systematically studied around the turn of the century by Dr. Walter Cannon (Harvard).

Fight or flight reflex manifests in effects such as a period of superhuman strength (followed by a precipitous drop), imperviousness to pain, increased speed, gross decrease in fine motor skills, and trembling in the extremities.

Ayoob advises his students to remember this: strength goes way up; dexterity goes way down.

What follows is a list of common physio-psychological effects that arise during life-or-death situations. Ayoob says that it's rare for them all to appear, but that it's equally rare for none of them to.

1. Tachypsychia (literally: the speed of the mind) -- the distortion of perceived time. In a life-or-death situation, the mind kicks into overdrive, perceiving orders of magnitude more information than is customary.

This causes the perception that things are happening in slow motion, even though you -- and your opponent -- are probably moving faster than you ever have. Tachypsychia can also work in reverse ("it all happened so fast").

Ayoob's experiences lead him to observe that the more experienced and highly trained a person is, the more likely that person is to experience tachypsychia.

That is, a person who knows that "trouble happens" is less likely to be surprised by it, and more likely to respond with super-heightened awareness.

A concrete upshot of tachypsychia is that one should not speak with responding officers on the question of how long an encounter took.

Rather, say "officer, he was trying to kill me, and I didn't have time to check my watch."<HR></BLOCKQUOTE> by Patrick Casey

Later



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Van Canna


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2002 10:52 am 
Van,

That tape was facinating. Ayoob definatley knows his stuff, and knows how to present it. The occasional use of profanity was also a nice touch! Image

When he was discussing Tachypsychia, it reminded me of strange things that had happened while running. Allen was a runner also, he can probably relate. One time I was on the track and running extremely hard! A guy got on the track and started running behind me. I refused to let this guy catch me, yet, he stayed with me the whole time. I counted the laps, 4 of them. I had already done 2 and needed 4 more for my 1.5 miler (I was getting ready for my PT Test in the AF, the major requirment was a 1.5 mile run and I wanted to do it in 8 minutes). I started to lose the guy at the beginning of my 6th lap and beat him. I was winding down by the water fountain when he came over to get a drink. He lit up a smoke and I thought, "why is this guy smoking after a hard run like that?". I asked him how many laps he did and he said "2". I was confused. He hit the track on the beginning of my 3rd lap and I raced him for 4 more. How could he possibly only have done 2 laps? Somehow I lapped this guy twice and never even saw him.

wierd.


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2002 2:35 pm 
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Van sensei,

As you know, a major problem in criminal cases centers around the testimony concerning time lines and what witnesses have seen.

Conflicting statements abound and the witness is convinced that he or she gave correct testimony.

My question relates to whether the physio-psychological theory of Ayoob would be applicable to witnesses, who although not personally threatened experienced viewing a stressful encounter.

We can look to the Hockey Rage case as an example of witnesses under oath, actually believing in what they testified, expounded conflicting statements of the physical contact of the combatants, conflicting time lines, and conflicting observations of the sequence of events.

You see this phenomona in motor vehicle tort cases (trials or depositions}. Over the years, I came to believe that all these witnesses could not be self serving liars; infact many truly believed in what they saw.

Did these mental impressions become distorted by the stress much in the same way as persons confronting personal danger or harm?

Alan K


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Wed Feb 13, 2002 4:28 pm 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>You see these phenomena in motor vehicle tort cases (trials or depositions}. Over the years, I came to believe that all these witnesses could not be self-serving liars; in fact many truly believed in what they saw.

Did these mental impressions become distorted by the stress much in the same way as persons confronting personal danger or harm?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


Excellent question, and one that was addressed by Massad during my LFI training with him in NH__

The answer is yes.. And the closer in proximity the witness finds himself to the mind-numbing event, the more severe the phenomena.

I have come across this in my interviews of witnesses in fatality cases, especially.

This was also experienced by the witnesses __ leg shaking and disorientation among other manifestations [ standing at arm distance away] __ when Art Rabesa and I had to resort to preemptive knockout violence during the assault upon the seniors at our summer camp a few years back by some punks.

After the event there were some disconcerting variations in their observations.

A double-edged sword to be sure.


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Van Canna

[This message has been edited by Van Canna (edited February 13, 2002).]


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 1:20 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>It is a deadly mistake to think that the average person faced with a life-threatening encounter is likely to respond as cooly and calmly as is portrayed in movies and videos.

This is a serious problem because "the firing of the gun is dexterity intensive. You can't change that."

In short, the use of fine motor skills for tasks like firing handguns are not part of the body's survival design: "Our bodies have not yet adapted to the possibility that fighting may involve a delicate trigger squeeze."

Loss of fine motor control also means that reloading, also a high-dexterity skill, especially in revolvers, becomes much more difficult.

Experts advise that it is possible to compensate for the loss of dexterity by diligent and proper training.

"However," writes expert Duane Thomas, "the sad truth is that very few people who carry a gun on a daily basis, in either the police or civilian sectors, have committed themselves to that level of training."

The necessary training requires more than time on a well-lighted, comfortable shooting range and a few hours leafing through "self-defense technique" articles in handgun fan magazines.

It means, according to Ayoob, learning carefully thought through ways of shooting the handgun that "minimize the degree to which you are dependent upon fine motor coordination as opposed to gross muscle coordination."

It may surprise some handgun enthusiasts that the "combat" pistol techniques they have learned in popular "practical pistol" or "combat shooting" courses may get them killed in real life.

Ayoob explains that "it becomes almost criminally negligent to teach officers and law abiding armed citizens to defend themselves with combat shooting techniques...that rely heavily on several dexterity-dependent coordinates being accomplished perfectly to index the weapon with the target under stress."

The "specific dexterity prescriptions" called for in some of these training regimens—applying precise amounts of pressure with each hand within a specific two-hand combat grip—go out the window "when your body goes out of control with superhuman strength and a total loss of dexterity....It's bull****."

The flip side of motor control is the possibility of unintended shootings stemming from the inability to fine-tune one's actions:

You may mean only to keep him covered, but under the stress of a potentially life-threatening confrontation, your finger may ride that trigger too heavily.

If one is startled, the situation can be even worse. Ayoob describes:

You drew the gun because you perceived yourself to be in danger, and that means body alarm reaction or even fight or flight reflex have kicked into gear: you're stronger and faster and meaner, but you're also clumsy and jumpy as hell.

A tense person who is startled or thrown off balance tends to respond with convulsive muscular movements, and this could make your gun go off. At best, this is embarrassing and can give your position away; at worst, you can shoot an innocent person accidentally.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 1:42 am 
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Impaired Thinking. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>One's very "ability to think in a rational, creative, and reflective manner" is likely to be reduced or perhaps eliminated under mortal threat conditions.

This "will generally cause a massive block of the brain's ability to process thought functions."

The inability to process thought functions rationally and reflectively will have an obvious effect on one's ability to clearly sort out whether the situation is appropriate for the use of lethal force.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 1:44 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>When someone uses a gun to defend themselves, and it works, that firearm, which is literally a life-saver, suddenly becomes the owner's most precious possession, their best friend, and they cling to it as tightly as they would to a person who had just saved them.


There is another explanation for this can't-let-go phenomenon, less dramatic, but perhaps more accurate.

Under stress, blood flow to the extremities is reduced; messages from the brain just don't get through to the muscles, or if they do the message is "clench", not "open".<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

So what of the open hand styles?


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Van Canna


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 1:46 am 
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Tunnel Vision, Temporary Blindness, and Auditory Exclusion ("tunnel hearing").

Other physiological changes impact not only the ability of the handgun shooter, but the safety of innocent bystanders: tunnel vision, temporary blindness, and auditory exclusion (also known as "tunnel hearing").

According to expert Ayoob, these are a result of a primeval decision in the cortex of the brain that "there is only one thing that concerns us now, destroying or escaping the thing that is attempting to destroy us....The eyes still see and the ears still hear, but the cortex of the brain is screening out anything that is extraneous."

Tunnel vision is a loss of peripheral vision. For example: "Your field of vision may narrow to mere inches and you may lose your depth perception and your ability to see what is behind the threat."

Thus, tunnel vision makes the shooter concentrate so much on the perceived danger that he may not see other "bad guys" on his flanks or innocent bystanders behind or near to the person he is concentrating on.


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Van Canna


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 1:56 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Auditory Exclusion -- could also be called "tunnel hearing." Like tunnel vision, auditory exclusion is largely a function of the brain's cortex.

That is, the brain has kicked into fight or flight reflex, focusing on the threat and screening out everything extraneous to immediate survival.

One is still -- physically -- seeing and hearing as usual, but the brain is screening lots of things out.

Tunnel vision and auditory exclus appears larger, therefore closer, often by as much as a 3-to-1 ratio.

A man with a knife five yards away appears to be five feet away; .22s look like .44 magnums. You may not hear the officer behind you yelling "don't shoot;" you may not even hear your own shots (rest assured however that 'clickers' will the the loudest sounds you've ever heard).

If you experience such physio-psychological aspects in a violent encounter -- and don't recognize them for what they are -- and recount your (distorted) perceptions to police, you can be in world of trouble when your case goes to court.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 1:59 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Precognition -- commonly called a "sixth sense" (a good phrase to avoid).

Precognition has to do with having seen something so many times that you "see it coming" before the unthreatened observer -- such as a witness -- does.

The connection with fight or flight reflex is that, in a deadly threat situation, the mind draws on memory resources that are not typically used.

Precognition is a response to a subconsciously perceived queue, and has successfully been used in criminal defense (Miami policeman Luis Alvarez, 1982).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

* This also goes a long way to justify pre-emptive striking.


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 2:02 am 
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Denial Response -- <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>On an otherwise normal day, you get a call out of the blue telling you that your mother has died. Your first response? "No! Mother can't be dead!"

Another common example is people yelling "no" at a car that's about to hit them, or hit someone else.

Again citing Officer Alvarez, within 30 seconds he went from thinking it was about time for a coffee break, to having blown a person's brains out.

His first radio transmission was "my gun went off," not "someone tried to kill me, and I shot him." The implications for the armed citizen are obvious...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 2:04 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Amaurosis Fugax (temporary blindness) -- while "visual white out" is relatively rare, what is commonly called "hysterical blindness" is less so.

The eyes have seen something so terrifying, the brain refuses to see it anymore. Ayoob observes that this is more likely to happen to the untrained, to those unprepared to deal with potential violence.

One concrete upshot of this is that amaurosis fugax often translates into fleeing the scene of the shooting.

In almost every court, flight equals guilt.

The legal theory is that the person who did right will stand his or her ground to explain as need be; the person who flees does so because there is culpability involved. Again, the implications for the armed citizen are obvious...<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 2:06 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Psychological Splitting -- the more highly trained a person is, the apt more he or she is to experience this (happened to Ayoob in 1971).

When you have trained something to the point that you can do it on autopilot -- coupled with something that triggers fight or flight -- the body moves so fast that the conscious mind can't keep up.

This can result in the perception of watching oneself do something. Ayoob counsels that if one experiences this, one is well served not to mention it in the initial debrief to local law enforcement; they may think you're crazy.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 2:09 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Excorporation -- out of body experience, the highest manifestation of psychological splitting.

This is most commonly seen on operating tables after clinical death, and is often combined with a white tunnel of light (see items 2 and 6 above).

It is also seen in gunfights with persons who think they are about to die. Its cause is that survival instinct is taking all the senses into overdrive, into hyper-perception one might say.

In this state, the mind can generate 3-D images from sounds and recollected sights. Even when the body is unconscious, the ears still hear and -- if they are open -- the eyes can still see. Even at clinical death, the brain lives for another 8-10 minutes (ask any EMT).<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Massad make it a point to say that you should remain positive in your speech before someone who appears clinically dead..so as to nurture any glimmer of hope left in his still conscious brain.


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 Post subject: Tachypsychia
PostPosted: Fri Feb 15, 2002 2:22 am 
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Cognitive Dissonance -- or confusion, is more common.

Common manifestations include remembering things out of sequence, trivial things looming large in the mind immediately after the incident, and important things being lost to short-term memory immediately after the incident.

For example, after a shooting, a thing that really sticks in your mind is that you ripped a hole in your clothes in drawing your pistol.

You mention this to the police ("damn, I tore my slacks" [and somebody else is laying there dead]).

Certain sub-humans with dorsal fins under their pinstripes might bring such a thing up in court as a "proof" of your cold-heartedness (Ayoob recounts a case where it did).

In reality what you've manifested is a type of denial response, a proof of innocence in its own right. Cognitive dissonance can be one of the mind's ways of saying "no, I didn't just come within 5 seconds of being dead, that didn't happen to me."

EMTs see this when they witness colleagues telling jokes and laughing at the site of a gruesome traffic accident. They're not hard-hearted; they are crushed by what they've had to look at.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The net effect of all this is that one is well-advised not to recount things in detail to LEOs immediately after a violent encounter.

The perceptions of the victim (you) may well be warped, and passing them along to police will ill-serve the cause of justice.

It sometimes takes time to sort things out.

How many shots did you fire? I don't know; I didn't count.

How close was the assailant? Close enough to kill me.

What did you say to him? Words to the effect of ... something along the lines of ... How long did it take? I don't know; I didn't check my watch.

Give yourself some time to sort things out before you recount them in detail to police.

One does this not to "beat the rap," but to help make sure that justice is done.

When you do tell it to the police in detail, let it be what really happened, not just how it seemed to you in the first moments after you survived a deadly encounter.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Cognitive dissonance also entails doing things out of sequence when stressed.

We have all experienced it.

One chilling example: When unloading a pistol with a round in the chamber and a full magazine __ the proper procedure is to first remove the magazine, then cycle the slide, ejecting the round in the chamber, then lowering the hammer [ some do it by pulling the trigger]__

Under cognitive dissonance [ confusion] __ many will do the reverse, i.e.,first cycle the slide on a full magazine, thereby placing a round "up the spout" __ next remove the magazine, and finally lower the hammer [ some do it by pulling the trigger] and the gun goes off.

And if the gun is not pointing in a safe direction..woes....!!


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