© 2016 Yao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. High-stress jobs require both appropriate physiological regulation and behavioral adjustment to meet the demands of emergencies. Here, we investigated the relationship between the autonomic stress response and behavioral adjustment after errors in special police cadets. Sixty-eight healthy male special police cadets were randomly assigned to perform a first-time walk on an aerial rope bridge to induce stress responses or a walk on a cushion on the ground serving as a control condition. Subsequently, the participants completed a Go/No-go task to assess behavioral adjustment after false alarm responses. Heart rate measurements and subjective reports confirmed that stress responses were successfully elicited by the aerial rope bridge task in the stress group. In addition, greater heart rate increases during the rope bridge task were positively correlated with post-error slowing and had a trend of negative correlation with post-error miss rate increase in the subsequent Go/No-go task. These results suggested that stronger autonomic stress responses are related to better post-error adjustment under acute stress in this highly selected population and demonstrate that, under certain conditions, individuals with high-stress jobs might show cognitive benefits from a stronger physiological stress response.
Yao, Z., Yuan, Y., Buchanan, T. W., Zhang, K., Zhang, L., & Wu, J. (2016). Greater heart rate responses to acute stress are associated with better post-error adjustment in special police cadets. PLoS ONE, 11(7). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0159322