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Article Review

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  • April 2013
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The impact of a natural disaster on sustained-attention and reaction tasks

1) Identify the rationale and theoretical aims of the study? The basis for the conducted study was to examine whether after an unpredicted natural disaster, such as an earthquake if it would affect a person’s performance on an errors of omission, commission and reaction time.

2) Identify the hypothesis?
The hypothesis for this experiment was to see if post-earthquake induced stress would increase dissociative capabilities such as cognition. It was therefore expected changes in SART performance post-earthquake indicative of cognitive performance. Also it was believed that people will respond differently in the DASS-21 scale as a result of the earthquake. People who experience depression will become conservative, whereas those who experience greater anxiety are more likely to become impulsive.

3) Describe important and relevant details about what happened? Participants were tested individually in cubicles with no external windows both pre-earthquake and post earthquake. In both sessions participants preformed a SART test, which those involved viewed black numbered stimuli presented on a computer screen at eye level. Participants were instructed to press a computer key to any number through 1 to 9 except the target number 8, which requires them to withhold a response. The entire SART test took 6.75 min. After the post-earthquake session the participants also filled out the short form of the Depression Anxiety Stress Survey (DASS-21; Henry and Crawford, 2005), to measure the average amount of sleep a night and a two-item measure of trait emotional stability.

4) Describe what the results were?
The results for the study showed that inappropriate button withholds on the SART test were significantly more noticeable post earthquake compared to the prior earthquake test. However there was no significant difference in inappropriate button responses. The results also showed that the...