Channel Capacity and the Locus of Interference under Dual Task Conditions.
NAVAL AEROSPACE MEDICAL RESEARCH LAB PENSACOLA FL
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In current mission systems, naval aviators and flight officers are required to perform complex tasks under excessive pressure of environmental and task-induced stress. The effectiveness of these systems may be dependent upon the operators capacity to process and respond to a large variety of information. There are currently no adequate measurement techniques for quantifying either human workload capacities or systems demands made upon these capacities. The use of faulty techniques and misinterpretation of available data lead to the development and deployment of systems in which the operator is severely overloaded and required to perform nearly impossible sequences of perceptual, cognitive, and manual tasks. The purpose of this study was to investigate individuals maximum information processing capacity under complex task conditions in order to provide data necessary in the development of techniques to quantify operator workload capacities and system demands. A sample of 120 male naval officer candidates participated in two multi-task experiments. The resutls suggest that performance on the primary task deteriorates as a joint function of both primary and secondary task processing loads. These data provide support for the maximum interference of information processing to occur within the memory dependent and response selection stages of processing. Author