Hamilton et al. published the article “Can Cognitive Training Improve Shoot/Don’t-Shoot Performance? Evidence from Live Fire Exercises” at the The American Journal of Psychology in 2019.
According to the authors, law enforcement, security, and military personnel are often faced with split-second decisions that carry life-or-death consequences. Recent research suggests that mistakes in deciding to shoot or not to shoot (such as firing at nonhostile or unarmed civilians) might be connected to specific cognitive skills. These errors could potentially be minimized through focused cognitive training. However, most of these studies were conducted with individuals who lacked formal training, involved simulated weaponry, or utilized untrained individuals with simulated firearms.
Before incorporating cognitive training into the real-world firearm training of police and military personnel, it’s crucial to establish that the benefits of such training extend to skilled shooters using real firearms and live ammunition. In this study, we investigated the impact of cognitive training on proficient law enforcement officers. These officers underwent shooting tasks using live ammunition and their standard-issue firearms before and after the training. The results reinforce the notion that targeted cognitive interventions can substantially enhance firearm safety and effectiveness for trained professionals carrying firearms.
In conclusion, the current study demonstrated that cognitive training can improve shooting performance under the most realistic circumstances ethically possible (...) Moreover, this successful demonstration with trained personnel could pave the way for additional forms of cognitive training to improve shooting performance. (Hamilton et al., 2019)
Joseph A. Hamilton, Gary Lambert, Joel Suss, Adam T. Biggs; Can Cognitive Training Improve Shoot/Don’t-Shoot Performance? Evidence from Live Fire Exercises. The American Journal of Psychology 1 July 2019; 132 (2): 179–194. doi: https://doi.org/10.5406/amerjpsyc.132.2.0179