Characteristics of Sense-Making in Combat

Uzi Ben-Shalom, Yechiel Klar and Yitzhak Benbenisty

in The Oxford Handbook of Military Psychology

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780195399325
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

Characteristics of Sense-Making in Combat

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This chapter explores characteristics of sense-making in actual combat. We begin by examining the “booting up” and “rebooting” metaphors. These concepts denote a process through which commanders understand that their notion of the fighting requires adaptation. In hectic and often desperate situations, involving intense emotions and confusion, they must realize that their original frame may no longer be valid. We then explore creativity in combat, as signified by constant and free thinking. Successful commanders were focused on both the immediate task and the overall context of a fight. Finally, we look at the detrimental consequences of failing to make sense, namely, lack of participation in combat, freezing, or the repetition of futile and harmful actions.

Keywords: Sense-making; combat behavior; performance under stress; emotions; counterinsurgency

Article.  10527 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Social Psychology ; Organizational Psychology

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