INFORMATION PROCESSING IN A COMPLEX TASK UNDER SPEED STRESS
BOLT BERANEK AND NEWMAN INC CAMBRIDGE MA
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Differential effects of speed stress were sought in a complex task including five information processing activities differing in a spatial and temporal uncertainty of events requiring response, b location in display channels varying in frequency of occurrence of response events, c short-term memory requirements, and d perceptual requirements in event recognition. Highly practiced Ss were found to have evolved a priority strategy based primarily on frequency of response events in different display locations. High frequency tasks not requiring search were relatively impervious to stress effects. Lower frequency events occurring in low priority display locations gave rise to poorer performance at all levels of stress. Significant performance decrement under stress occurred first in the most complex low probability task, which required search and short-term memory. The results were interpreted as being similar to findings in studies of vigilance behavior and statistical decision theory.