Human information processing under stress




stress, anxiety, information processing, emergency management, incident command, disaster response


This article is a review of literature focused on how human beings process information under stress. Three major theories on information processing are reviewed: cue utilization theory, attentional control theory, and working memory capacity theory. Different conditions that can cause an individual to feel stress are examined, how stress affects information processing, ways which stress may be beneficial, and different ways to mitigate stress, so they may process information more accurately and efficiently. Throughout the article, examples of how stress can affect incident commanders responding to a disaster situation are used to illustrate research findings.

Author Biography

Tracy Rogers, MPA

Doctoral Student in Emergency Management, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama


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How to Cite

Rogers, T. “Human Information Processing under Stress”. Journal of Emergency Management, vol. 21, no. 2, May 2023, pp. 141-54, doi:10.5055/jem.0756.