Do Drone Pilots Feel Combat Stress?

Slate is running a story covering the debate about whether pilots of drone aircraft (which feels rather like playing a video game) suffer the same stress as pilots in actual combat.

We've all felt a bit stressed when playing a video game - whether its the tension of creeping around a Doom map that you know contains a Cyberdemon or just the feeling of panic as the Tetris blocks creep inexorably up the screen - if you game you know that it can take a real mental toll.

Of course, there is a big difference between BFGing some demons and guiding an actual missile that you know will kill actual human beings. Could it be that the reverse is true & that the video game nature of drone piloting gives a sense of distance that insulates people from killing?

As an aside, current recruitment ads for the British Army show someone piloting a recon aircraft using an Xbox 360 controller. Make of that what you will.

Ghosts in the Machine [Slate]