Over the years, startle, surprise, and distraction have been frequently cited as potentially having negative effects on aircraft flightcrew performance. This paper aims to build upon and extend our prior research (Rivera, Talone, Boesser, Jentsch, & Yeh, 2014) in which we found evidence that (a) startle may be less problematic to flight deck performance than surprise, and (b) negative flight deck performance following startle is most likely due to concurrent distraction or surprise. The current research examined the theoretical foundations underlying these concepts and analyzed two accident/incident databases to identify potential trends and assess the prevalence of startle, surprise, and distraction on the flight deck. Results indicated that across the entire 20-year period, distraction was the most prevalent, followed by surprise and startle.
Talone, A. B.,
& Jentsch, F.
(2015). Evaluating Startle, Surprise, and Distraction: an Analysis of Aircraft Incident and Accident Reports. 18th International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 278-283.