Target fixation


Target fixation

Target fixation is a process by which the brain is focused so intently on an observed object that awareness of other obstacles or hazards can diminish. Also, in an avoidance scenario, the observer can become so fixated on the target that they will forget to take the necessary action to avoid it, thus colliding with the object.

This is a common issue for motorcyclists and mountain bikers. A motorcycle or bicycle will tend to go where the rider is looking; if the rider is overly focused on an obstacle (puddle of oil, tree, branch, banana peel, small child, etc), the cycle can collide with that object simply because of the rider's focus on it, even though the rider is trying to avoid it.

The term "target fixation" may have been borrowed from World War II fighter pilots, who spoke of a tendency to want to fly into targets during a strafing run. For instance, it is believed that a previous head injury to Manfred von Richthofen, the Red Baron, caused the famed flying ace to develop that process that caused him to disregard proper caution and become an easy target for Allied forces to fatally bring him down.

Target fixation may also refer to a phenomenon where a skydiver may forget to pull the ripcord because he or she is so focused on the landing area. [ [http://www.greenharbor.com/fffolder/carkeet.html The Free Fall Research Page: Unplanned Freefall? Some Survival Tips by David Carkeet ] ]

The effect is commonly known in online gaming as tunnel vision because of the way it causes players to ignore things not in the center of their screen.

References


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