Combating Vigilance Decrements in a Sustained Attention Task: Examination of Two Cognitive Intervention Schedules for a Secondary Task
Interim rept. 15 May 2011-15 Mar 2012
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH HUMAN EFFECTIVENESS DIRECTORATE
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Results from previous studies St. John Risser, 2007, 2009 indicate the addition of a simple cognitive secondary task may mitigate vigilance decrements for a sustained attention task involving target acquisition. The effectiveness of the cognitive task increased when its onset was triggered by physiological indicators of inattention. The current study examined the generalizability of this methodology with a few modifications. A no intervention condition was added to provide a baseline and a short perceptual vigilance task PVT was added to examine the construct validity of the experimental task ET. Finally, instead of using physiological indicators to trigger the intervention, a schedule was used that resembled that of the physiological intervention. Although vigilance decrements were observed for both the PVT and ET, only a weak relationship was observed between the two tasks. ET performance was not affected by the cognitive intervention. The apparent poor construct validity of the ET and failure to replicate previous findings cast doubts on the robustness of the cognitive intervention for mitigating performance decrements on real-world tasks, especially when its onset is not linked with physiological indicators of inattention.
- Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems