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SENSORY ALTERNATION AND PERFORMANCE IN A VIGILANCE TASK
DUNLAP AND ASSOCIATES EAST INC NORWALK CT
The effects of four experimental conditions on performance in a vigilance task were studied using eight subjects in a repeated measurements design. The four conditions were visual detection alone auditory detection alone combined redundant visual and auditory detection and alternating, in 30-minute periods, auditory and visual detection. Subjects were required to detect .1-second, a periodic interruptions in either or both a visually displayed horizontal line or a 1000 cps tone. The intensities of both signals were adjusted to near-threshold levels against constant noise backgrounds. Data were collected on the number of signals detected, the number of false responses, and response times during the two-hour testing session. It was found that 1 sensory alternation was an effective means of maintaining alertness 2 redundant, dual sense monitoring resulted in significantly fewer false responses 3 there were no differences between the four conditions with respect to median response times and 4 response times did increase with the length of the watch over the four conditions.
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