Quantification of Tactile Cueing for Enhanced Target Search Capacity

Merlo, J., & Hancock, P.A.. (2011). Quantification of tactile cueing for enhanced target search capacity. Military Psychology, 23(2), 137-153.

Soldiers on today’s battlefield find themselves monitoring a host of displays in both vehicles and command centers, with personal-mounted displays looming in the near future. Such display proliferation makes the task of managing limited visual attention while searching for information extremely demanding and the potential for critical information loss due to visual demand overload. Cueing has traditionally provided a performance advantage in search tasks, with the current experiment exploring whether and how a specific tactile display format could guide visual attention. In particular, the use of the tactile cues decreased search response time by more than 30%. This was not a trade of speed for accuracy because the frequency of missed signals themselves was also reduced by approximately 70%, and false positives were suppressed by the addition of the tactile cue by over 50%. These findings represent useful foundational outcomes against which to compare other forms of sensory cueing.

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