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