Effect of Experience and Psychophysiological Modification by Combat Stress in Soldier’s Memory

  • Rosa Delgado-MorenoEmail author
  • Jose Juan Robles-Pérez
  • Susana Aznar-Laín
  • Vicente Javier Clemente-Suárez
Education & Training
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Technological Innovations in Biomedical Training and Practice (TEEM 2018)


The present research aimed to analyze the effect of experience and psychophysiological modification by combat stress in soldier’s memory in a simulated combat situation. Variables of rate of perceived exertion, blood glucose, blood lactate, lower body muscular strength manifestation, cortical arousal, specific fine motor skills, autonomic modulation, state anxiety, and memory and attention through a postmission questionnaire were analyzed before and after a combat simulation in 15 experienced soldiers of a special operation unit and 20 non-experienced soldiers of light infantry unit from the Spanish Army. The stress of combat simulation produces a significant increase (p < 0.05) in rated perceived exertion, blood glucose, blood lactate, somatic anxiety and a low frequency domain of the heart rate, and a significant decrease of rifle magazine reload time, high frequency domain of the heart rate and somatic anxiety in both groups. The variables of RPE, glucose, CFFT, RMRT, RMSSD, LF/HF, CA, SA and STAI were significantly different in experienced soldiers shown the activation of fight-flight system. The anticipatory anxiety in experienced soldiers shows a cognitive behavioral association by past experiences. The analysis of correct response in the postmission questionnaire show elements more related with the sight and that endanger the physical integrity of soldiers are more remembered, and some significant differences (p < 0.05) in the memory performance of experienced soldiers and non experienced soldiers where experienced soldiers shown a better performance. As conclusion, combat stress produce an increase in the psichophysiological response of soldiers independently of experience, but experienced ones presented a lower negative effect on memory than non experienced.


Military Combat stress Memory Cognitive behavioral association Military anxiety 




Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declares that they have no conflict of interest.

Research Involving Human Participants

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rosa Delgado-Moreno
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Jose Juan Robles-Pérez
    • 1
    • 3
  • Susana Aznar-Laín
    • 4
  • Vicente Javier Clemente-Suárez
    • 2
    • 5
  1. 1.Study Centre in Applied Combat (CESCA)ToledoSpain
  2. 2.Universidad Europea de Madrid, Faculty of Sport SciencesVillaviciosa de OdónSpain
  3. 3.Light Forces Head Quarter of the Spanish ArmyMadridSpain
  4. 4.PAFS Research Group, Faculty of Sports SciencesUniversity of Castilla-La ManchaToledoSpain
  5. 5.Grupo de Investigación en Cultura, Educación y SociedadUniversidad de la CostaBarranquillaColombia

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