Target fixation

Target fixation is an attentional phenomenon observed in humans in which an individual becomes so focused on an observed object (be it a target or hazard) that they inadvertently increase their risk of colliding with the object. It is associated with scenarios in which the observer is in control of a high-speed vehicle or other mode of transportation, such as fighter pilots, race-car drivers and motorcyclists.[1] In such cases, the observer may fixate so intently on the target that they steer in the direction of their gaze, which is often the ultimate cause of a collision.[1] The term target fixation was used in World War II fighter-bomber pilot training to describe pilots flying into targets during a strafing or bombing run.[2]


  1. Edmunds, Glen. "The Phenomenon of Target Fixation & How To Avoid It". Glen Edmunds Performance Driving School. Archived from the original on April 13, 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
  2. Colgan, William B. (2010), Allied Strafing in World War II: A Cockpit View of Air to Ground Battle, McFarland, ISBN 978-0-7864-4887-6

See also


  • Spiegel, Bernt (2010), The Upper Half of the Motorcycle: On the Unity of Rider and Machine, translated by Meredith Hassall, Center Conway, New Hampshire: Whitehorse Press, ISBN 978-1-884313-75-2
  • Vanderbilt, Tom (2008), Traffic: why we drive the way we do (and what it says about us), New York, New York: Random House, ISBN 978-0-307-26478-7
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