• First responders, defence personnel and elite athletes need to sustain efficient and accurate cognitive performance and decision making in complex rapidly changing conditions. In some circumstances, their performance can save lives.

    Building on previous work where we identified ten cognitive factors that are key to optimal performance (which cut across arousal, attention, cognitive control, working memory and social processing), we are now working to assess cognitive fitness in these populations.

    Collaborating with world-leading performance experts in the military, first responder organisations and competitive sport our current project will develop a framework for measuring and maximising high-performance cognition.

    To do this, we will develop, validate, and optimise a battery of cognitive measures that can precisely and reliably gauge individual variations on the key cognitive drivers of performance under pressure. The toolkit must be sensitive to individual differences in the supra-normal range of functioning to be able to establish a cognitive baseline and predict individual personnel trajectories through stages of selection, training, and on-the-job performance.

    This toolkit aims to improve the tracking of cognitive fitness under sustained, changeable, and high-pressure conditions to assess and enhance the performance of defence personnel.