Effects of Warned and Unwarned Demand Transitions on Vigilance Performance and Stress.

Helton, D., Shaw, T., Warm, J.S., Matthews, G., & Hancock, P.A. (2008). Effects of warned and unwarned demand transitions on vigilance performance and stress. Anxiety, Stress, and Coping, 21(2), 173-184.

The present study was designed to explore the effects of warned and unwarned demand transitions in vigilance on performance and self-reported stress. Twenty observers (10 women and 10 men) were assigned at random to each of six conditions resulting from the factorial combination of signal salience (high and low salience signals) and switching (no switch, switch with warning, and switch without warning). Performance metrics and self-reported stress state (Task Engagement, Distress, and Worry) were collected. While demand transitions did destabilize subsequent performance, increasing intra-individual variability, overall performance efficiency was uninfluenced by either switching or warning. Demand transitions, whether warned or not, increased self-reported distress. A dynamic model of performance stress may be necessary and research employing vigilance tasks in the future may be useful for developing this performance-stress model.

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