The Structure of Processing Resource Demands in Monitoring Automatic Systems.
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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Human operators are increasingly being called upon to function as monitors of automatic systems. System monitors, as opposed to active controllers, do not necessarily experience lower workload levels during task performance. In fact, prior research has suggested that workload demands may not be reduced but rather shifted to a functionally separate processing pool according to a structure specific view of human attention. Sternbergs additive factors method may provide a useful workload assessment technique for localizing the information processing demands of task performance. The present study couples a primary failure detection task with a secondary Sternberg task which employed a perceptual and response load manipulation. The results demonstrated a significant overlap of processing resources for the failure detection task and the Sternberg perceptual condition. For the response load condition, there was no evidence of shared resources between the two tasks. These results have significant implications for task configuration and workload assessment research. Author