Accession Number:

AD1101037

Title:

Examining the Role of Task Requirements in the Magnitude of the Vigilance Decrement

Descriptive Note:

Journal Article - Open Access

Corporate Author:

NAVAL RESEARCH LAB WASHINGTON DC WASHINGTON United States

Report Date:

2018-08-20

Pagination or Media Count:

13.0

Abstract:

The vigilance decrement in sustained attention tasks is a prevalent example of cognitive fatigue in the literature. A critical challenge for current theories is to account for differences in the magnitude of the vigilance decrement across tasks that involve memory successive tasks and those that do not simultaneous tasks. The empirical results described in this paper examine this issue by comparing performance, including eye movement data, between successive and simultaneous tasks that require multiple fixations to encode the stimulus for each trial. The findings show that differences in the magnitude of the vigilance decrement between successive and simultaneous tasks were observed only when a response deadline was imposed in the analysis of reaction times. This suggests that memory requirements did not exacerbate the deleterious impacts of time on task on the ability to accurately identify the critical stimuli. At the same time, eye tracking data collected during the study provided evidence for disruptions in cognitive processing that manifested as increased delays between fixations on stimulus elements and between encoding the second stimulus element and responding. These delays were particularly pronounced in later stages of encoding and responding. The similarity of the findings for both tasks suggests that the vigilance decrement may arise from common mechanisms in both cases. Differences in the magnitude of the decrement arise as a function of how degraded cognitive processing interacts with differences in the information processing requirements and other task characteristics. The findings are consistent with recent accounts of the vigilance decrement, which integrate features of prior theoretical perspectives.

Subject Categories:

Distribution Statement:

APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE