New Measures of Complex Cognitive Abilities: Relating Memory Processes to Aviation Flight Situation Awareness Abilities
Final rept. 26 Nov 2001-30 Jun 2003
MISSISSIPPI STATE UNIV MISSISSIPPI STATE DEPT OF PSYCHOLOGY
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The present research sought to develop new tests of cognitive abilities that would be related to later flight situation awareness SA performance, to relate the new measures to existing measures of cognitive ability, to examine the effects of pilot stress on the measures, and to give the measures to the Navy for further investigation as personnel classification tools. Year I funding out of the 3 applied for was granted, and stress studies were not performed. The role of working memory WM capacity and long-term working memory LTWM skill in complex task performance was examined as a function of expertise. WM Capacity scores for novices and experts did not differ, suggesting that individual differences in resources available to process and store information in WM are independent of acquired skills. Experts had higher LTWM skills, suggesting that experts have a better ability to encode domain specific information into and retrieve it from long-term memory rapidly. LTWM skill and WM capacity were not correlated, suggesting they are distinct constructs. WM capacity predicted novice control selection error whereas LTWM skill predicted expert SA task performance. Implications for theories of memory and pilot selection are discussed.