Vestibular Stimuli May Degrade Situation Awareness Even When Spatial Disorientation is not Experienced
RSK ASSESSMENTS INC ORLANDO FL
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Spatial disorientation SD is an important contribution to aviation mishaps. Misleading acceleration stimuli during flight are one of the main causes of SD. SD is associated with a loss of situation awareness LSA and the commission of dangerous errors, yet little is known concerning the specific interactions among SD, LSA, and human error. While SD is likely to be an important contribution to LSA and human error, the interaction is complicated because acceleration stimuli to the vestibular organs degrade a persons well-being and performance even when spatial disorientation SD is not experienced. This paper points out theoretical gaps in knowledge concerning LSA, SD of vestibular origin, and vestibular effects other than SD. The authors argue for a wider consideration of the ways in which vestibular acceleration stimuli contribute to unsafe conditions for vehicle operators. While vestibular acceleration stimuli can elicit SD, they can also challenge psychomotor performance, visual performance, and certain aspects of cognition. A complete approach to the study of acceleration- induced human error and LSA should assess these various decrements in human functioning simultaneously, so the relative contribution of each decrement to the commission of error can be understood and the interactions among the decrements described.
- Stress Physiology