Situation Awareness in a Virtual Environment: Description of a Subjective Assessment Scale
Final rept. Jun-Nov 2001
MILITARY ACADEMY WEST POINT NY DEPT OFBEHAVIORAL SCIENCES AND LEADERSHIP
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The Mission Awareness Rating Scale MARS, a subjective situation awareness SA rating scale designed to assess SA content and SA workload, was tested in a series of virtual environment exercises. Sixteen enlisted soldiers, working in teams of four soldiers each, completed four urban combat missions in a virtual night environment designed to simulate the experience of working with night vision goggles - NVG PVS-7Bs and aiming lights. In each scenario, a different approach for simulating this NVG environment was used. After each scenario was completed, each soldier completed the MARS instrument. This yielded estimates of the SA level and workload involved in four dimensions of SA - perception, understanding, projection, and knowing what decision to make. The results indicated that MARS significantly and rebustly discriminated among the different approaches, and these SA estimates were congruent with general estimates of SA content and workload while operating at night in the real world, and with the soldiers subjective rankings of the four simulated NVG environments. While promising, MARS must be validated against objective SA measures, both in the virtual environment and in the field environment. However, MARS seems to hold premise as a relatively unobtrusive and effective SA measure.
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