MONDAY, Aug. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Teamwork can help tired
people avoid making poor decisions, a new study indicates.
Pilots, doctors and others in demanding professions can make
dangerous errors when they're weary. But, fatigued people who work
as a team have better problem-solving skills than those who work
alone, British researchers report.
They asked 171 army officer cadets, aged 18 to 24, at a weekend
training exercise to solve a series of math problems. Some were
tested before they began the training session and were rested,
while others did the math problems at the end of the weekend when
they were exhausted.
Individual cadets who were fatigued did far worse on the tests
than those who were rested. However, teams of exhausted cadets did
just as well as teams of rested cadets.
The study appears online in the
Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied.
"Teams appear to be more highly motivated to perform well, and team members can compare solutions to reach the best decision when they are fatigued. This appears to allow teams to avoid the inflexible thinking experienced by fatigued individuals," study author Daniel Frings, a senior lecturer in social psychology at London South Bank University, said in a journal news release.
In situations where fatigue is a concern, decisions should be
made by teams rather than individuals if possible, the study
The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety has more