Pucker factor is a military slang phrase used to describe the level of stress and/or adrenaline response in a dangerous or crisis situation. The term refers to the tightening of the buttocks caused by extreme fear. If it is inadequate, the person making decisions may make them "like a robot" without considering ethics or the long-term consequences of his actions; conversely, if it is excessive, then the person "puckers": panics and becomes unable to think clearly and effectively.
- "The Pucker Factor", William Safire. New York Times, 1998. https://www.nytimes.com/1988/07/07/opinion/essay-the-pucker-factor.html