INVESTIGATION OF MACHINE-ASSISTS TO OPERATOR PERFORMANCE: SIGNAL DETECTION AND TASK COMPLEXITY.
PITTSBURGH UNIV PA ENGINEERING PSYCHOLOGY LAB
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The initial stages of the project consisted of a review and analysis of the human engineering literature to isolate general machine-assist principles and to determine im plications for application to the machine-aiding of human performance. A series of investigations was carried out in the general area of signal detection to study the facilitating properties of overt observing responses, artificial signals and display and control complexity on operator performance. The final experiment in the series was conducted to investigate the effects of task complexity on decrement over time in the performance of a signal detection task. The independent variables consisted of variation in signal rate, the number of signal sources and the complexity of the required post-detection response. Signals consisted of changes in repeatedly presented alphabetical characters. Contrary to the hypothesis suggested by previous investigations, detection performance was not significantly influenced by variations in task complexity as manipulated in this study. The results obtained are discussed in terms of arousal theory and in terms of possible performance-facilitating properties of familiar symbolic stimuli. Author