Dangers of task fixation

This is a discussion on Dangers of task fixation within the Carry & Defensive Scenarios forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Under extreme stress human beings can experience what is known as task fixation. Task fixation means that they are 100% focused on the threat at ...

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Thread: Dangers of task fixation

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    Senior Member Array mercop's Avatar
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    Oct 2008

    Dangers of task fixation

    Under extreme stress human beings can experience what is known as task fixation. Task fixation means that they are 100% focused on the threat at hand and will likely continue use of the same tactic, movement or tool even although it is not proving effective.

    Very often during force on force with firearms we see someone being charge with a knife or bludgeon at a distance, they are shooting as fast as they can but remain flatfooted. They keep shooting and the bad guy just will not go down. After being cut/stabbed a few times they learn to move off line. Just because you have a tool in your hand does not mean you can ignore everything else.

    Another example is during a stabbing when an attacker is on top of the victim and keeps stabbing him with ice pick type stabs. Responding to an attack with these gross motor responses that utilize a cyclic type motion decrease the chance of the officer transitioning to another tactic or tool when doing so should be obvious.

    Task fixation is even more dangerous during open hand edged weapons when the person being attacked grabs the weapon or the weapon wielding hand without moving off the centerline. Even when this does not prevent them from getting stabbed for some reason they fail to let go in order to do something else.

    My default defense against task fixation during bad breath range confrontations is to habitually move in at a hard 45-degree angle to my attackers right. Since 93%+ or the population this puts you to their non-reaction. This accomplishes several things whether the confrontation involves open hand, impact weapons, edged weapons or a pistol.

    Suppresses their weapon hand.
    Moves you off the center line.
    Puts you to their outside.
    Allows you to off balance them with a push.

    I have found that once you are on the outside you kinda get reset and realize that you have more options that bridge to other options instead of getting stuck.

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