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VIGILANCE PERFORMANCE AS A FUNCTION OF TASK AND ENVIRONMENTAL VARIABLES
GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIV ALEXANDRIA VA HUMAN RESOURCES RESEARCH OFFICE
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Fourteen experiments were conducted to compare the effects on vigilance of paired and individual monitoring, high and low signal rates, rest periods versus continuous monitoring, knowledge of pretest performance, partial and complete knowledge of results of monitoring, monetary incentives, knowledge of vigil length, supervision by an officer, and false visual and auditory signals. Some of the experiments combined two or more of these variables a final study compared four combinations of the three most effective variables. The three most effective variables were determined to be multiple monitoring, monitoring with spaced rest periods, and supervised monitoring. In general, the data tended strongly to support a motivational interpretation of vigilance. In simple tasks, learning appears to be a trivial factor at best in the maintenance of detection performance. The results for the optimization study suggest that significantly high levels of performance can be maintained over fairly extended time periods, with careful selection of conditions.
APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE