The Effects of Cognitive and Visual Workload on Peripheral Detection in the Detection Response Task

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Author: Wim van Winsum
Date: Sept. 2018
From: Human Factors(Vol. 60, Issue 6)
Publisher: Sage Publications, Inc.
Document Type: Author abstract; Report
Length: 268 words

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Abstract :

Objective: The independent effects of cognitive and visual load on visual Detection Response Task (vDRT) reaction times were studied in a driving simulator by performing a backwards counting task and a simple driving task that required continuous focused visual attention to the forward view of the road. The study aimed to unravel the attentional processes underlying the Detection Response Task effects. Background: The claim of previous studies that performance degradation on the vDRT is due to a general interference instead of visual tunneling was challenged in this experiment. Method: vDRT stimulus eccentricity and stimulus conspicuity were applied as within-subject factors. Results: Increased cognitive load and visual load both resulted in increased response times (RTs) on the vDRT. Cognitive load increased RT but revealed no task by stimulus eccentricity interaction. However, effects of visual load on RT showed a strong task by stimulus eccentricity interaction under conditions of low stimulus conspicuity. Also, more experienced drivers performed better on the vDRT while driving. Conclusion: This was seen as evidence for a differential effect of cognitive and visual workload. The results supported the tunnel vision model for visual workload, where the sensitivity of the peripheral visual field reduced as a function of visual load. However, the results supported the general interference model for cognitive workload. Application: This has implications for the diagnosticity of the vDRT: The pattern of results differentiated between visual task load and cognitive task load. It also has implications for theory development and workload measurement for different types of tasks. Keywords: workload, focused attention, Peripheral Detection Task, Detection Response Task, general interference model, tunnel vision model DOI: 10.1177/0018720818776880

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A553279964