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Models of Pilot Performance for Systems and Mission Evaluation - Psychological and Psychophysiological Aspects

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Interim rept. May 1997-Mar 1999

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The purpose of this study was to analyze the effects of mission complexity and information load on Pilot Mental Workload PMWL, Situational Cognizance SC, and Operative Effectiveness OE or operative performance. Previous assessment of operative performance or effectiveness has been developed with task analyses using psychological indices constructed with factor analysis. Generally, PMWL is affected by mission complexity and PMWL affects different aspects of Pilot Performance PP. The specific purposes were to 1 validate psychological, psychophysiological, and performance based measures of PMWL, SC, and OE, 2 develop models of pilot performance for systems and mission evaluation, 3 compare real and simulated missions, and 4 discuss the application of these results to the systematic evaluation of systems and missions with the pilot in the loop. In the first phase, 20 fighter pilots performed 150 flight missions. In the second phase, 15 pilots performed 40 simulated missions. Questionnaires were used to tap mission complexity, information load, mental workload, mental capacity, motivation, situational cognizance, and performance. Additionally, during the simulated missions eye movements, heart and blink rates were obtained. From the flight and simulation data, the model analyses showed that mission complexity affects different aspects of information processing and mental workload and that these aspects, in their turn, affect situational cognizance and pilot performance. Significant relationships were found between heart rate, workload ratings, mental capacity, operative performance, and motivation. Heart rate and eye fixation rates increased, and blink rate decreased with increasing task complexity. A combination of these dynamic measures and the psychological indices form a reliable and valid technique for systems and mission evaluation.

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  • Psychology
  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

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