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#213854 - 12/29/10 06:26 PM Re: Case studies & survival psychology [Re: Eric]
hikermor Offline
Geezer in Chief

Registered: 08/26/06
Posts: 6367
Loc: southern Cal
Interesting post. Didn't several Civil War units sustain casualty rates exceeding 30% and continue to function, even heroically?

I guess it comes down to, "mind matters..."
Geezer in Chief

#213875 - 12/29/10 09:49 PM Re: Case studies & survival psychology [Re: dougwalkabout]
tomfaranda Offline

Registered: 02/14/08
Posts: 301
Loc: Croton on Hudson, NY
Many Civil War units of both sides sustained horrendous casualty rates - over 50% - and continued functioning - for that battle. For example, the "Iron Brigade" at the first day's fighting at Gettysburg. However in the Civil War, casualties in regiment and brigade sized units were not generally replaced. Instead, new recruits went into newly formed brigades.

So units would shrink in size as they took casualties over the months and years. I don't think the "Iron Brigade" was an effective fighting unit after Gettysburg, because it was so shrunken in size.

#213942 - 12/30/10 04:50 PM Re: Case studies & survival psychology [Re: dweste]
Montanero Offline

Registered: 10/14/08
Posts: 1307
Loc: North Carolina
Originally Posted By: dweste
While just speculation on my part, I would guess that much survival training, trainors, and professionals have their roots in the military and incorporate the military's gung-ho attitude. If so, then I would expect a projection of that attitude to everything as a one-size-fits-all, everything-looks- like-a-nail-when-you're-a-hammer sort of thing.

Having been through five military survival schools, and a great deal of survival type training, and just being in the military for 24 years active duty (and six as a government civilian); I will tell you that your description does not accurately describe a military attitude. While there are many personality types in the military, a one size fits all, everything looks like a nail when you're a hammer, it is not only not taught in military survival schools, but actively taught against. In fact, the calm Buddhist like acceptance is taught as part of the initial period of assessing your situation. This is difficult for many people, military or civilian, as many people have a driving need for action, to do something,anything. The military training tries to help people get past this and to think their way through a situation. Many of the people you describe as trainers have generally had little training, or are actually presenting in the entertainment industry, or both. Your brain is your best survival tool/piece of equipment, and this is taught in military schools. And your brain should tell you to be physically prepared for wherever you are going and whatever you are doing.

#213961 - 12/30/10 08:21 PM Re: Case studies & survival psychology [Re: dougwalkabout]
Art_in_FL Offline

Registered: 09/01/07
Posts: 2432
I suspect the results may be slanted by two layers of self selection. The majority those that get into trouble tend to be those who have self-selected to be in danger. Second, the stories always report what the survivors attitudes were.

It would be interesting to find out if those who didn't put themselves in danger experience it differently. Even more interesting to find out what hose who died think of the situation. Not sure how you do that but a seance and/or Ouija board might be worth a shot.

Of course the survivors are going to cite their superior willpower. It both makes them seem special and offers an easy explanation for why others died when they didn't. It is the nature of man to flatter ourselves and seek easy and reassuring explanations for essentially random, or biologically/genetically dependent, events.

Biological/genetic in the sense that people with stores of energy, extra body fat, tend to have an edge fighting off hypothermia and surviving starvation. Likewise people with larger quantities of brown fat, fat that helps generate heat, tend to do better in cold temperatures. Likewise people who naturally tend to get frostbit seem to survive colder temperatures longer. They lose fingers and toes because the body cuts off blood flow and heat loss, but are better able to preserve their core temperature. Higher metabolism may provide protection for short term extreme cold as when a person falls into cold water. None of these has anything to do with willpower. They have to do with genetics, body composition and metabolic efficiency.

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