Mercado, J. E., White, T. L., Sanders, T., Wright, J., & Hancock, P. A. (2013). Performance Effects of Imperfect Cross-Modal Sensory Cueing in a Target Detection Simulation. The Journal of Defense Modeling and Simulation: Applications, Methodology, Technology, 1548512913509908.
Past research has shown that multi-modal sensory cues can reduce the workload of the user while simultaneously increasing performance capacity. This study looks to examine how performance is impacted in a multi-modal sensory cueing target detection task in which the cueing automation is imperfect. Twenty-seven undergraduate participants volunteered to take part in the present multi-modal sensory automation target detection task. The independent variables were trial (i.e., three five-minute trial blocks) and the cueing method (i.e., tactile, auditory or a combination of tactile and auditory cueing) used to assist visual search for target detection across three screens. Dependent variables included each participant’s response time and rate of accuracy. Results illustrate a significant decrease in response in the final trial when compared with the first trial. Results also illustrated a decrease in response time in each successive trial compared with the previous, each reflective of learning effects. A one-trial block exposure (5 minutes) to imperfect automation resulted in a response time decrease of 24%, while a two-trial block exposure (10 minutes) resulted in a response time decrease of 38%. Errors of omission results showed significantly lower miss rates in the final trial block when compared with the first trial block. In addition, errors of omission were lower in each successive trial compared with the previous. A one-trial block exposure (5 minutes) to imperfect automation resulted in a decrease in misses of 45%, while a two-trial block exposure (10 minutes) to imperfect automation resulted in a decrease of 65% in such misses. Our results suggest that interchanging multi-modal cues create stronger learning trends in a human–automation system than uni-modal cues. Results also showed that in spite of the automation used, automation failure resulted in a significant performance decrement. Auditory automation cueing failure produced a sevenfold increase in response time, while tactile automation cueing failure and a combination of auditory and tactile automation cueing failure produced a fourfold increase in response time. A speed–accuracy trade-off is not the cause of these results, because auditory automation cueing failure produces a twofold decrease in accuracy, and a combination of auditory and tactile automation cueing failure produced a threefold decrease in accuracy.
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