Prospective Memory Performance in Simulated Air Traffic Control: Robust to Interruptions but Impaired by Retention Interval
|Wilson, M.K. and Strickland, L. and Farrell, S. and Visser, T.A.W. and Loft, S. 2019. Prospective Memory Performance in Simulated Air Traffic Control: Robust to Interruptions but Impaired by Retention Interval. Human Factors. 62 (8): pp. 1249–1264.
OBJECTIVE: To examine the effects of interruptions and retention interval on prospective memory for deferred tasks in simulated air traffic control. BACKGROUND: In many safety-critical environments, operators need to remember to perform a deferred task, which requires prospective memory. Laboratory experiments suggest that extended prospective memory retention intervals, and interruptions in those retention intervals, could impair prospective memory performance. METHOD: Participants managed a simulated air traffic control sector. Participants were sometimes instructed to perform a deferred handoff task, requiring them to deviate from a routine procedure. We manipulated whether an interruption occurred during the prospective memory retention interval or not, the length of the retention interval (37-117 s), and the temporal proximity of the interruption to deferred task encoding and execution. We also measured performance on ongoing tasks. RESULTS: Increasing retention intervals (37-117 s) decreased the probability of remembering to perform the deferred task. Costs to ongoing conflict detection accuracy and routine handoff speed were observed when a prospective memory intention had to be maintained. Interruptions did not affect individuals' speed or accuracy on the deferred task. CONCLUSION: Longer retention intervals increase risk of prospective memory error and of ongoing task performance being impaired by cognitive load; however, prospective memory can be robust to effects of interruptions when the task environment provides cuing and offloading. APPLICATION: To support operators in performing complex and dynamic tasks, prospective memory demands should be reduced, and the retention interval of deferred tasks should be kept as short as possible.
|complex dynamic task
|Prospective Memory Performance in Simulated Air Traffic Control: Robust to Interruptions but Impaired by Retention Interval
This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article published in Human Factors. The final authenticated version is available online at: http://doi.org/10.1177/0018720819875888.
|Future of Work Institute
|Faculty of Business and Law
|Wilson, Micah [0000-0003-4143-7308]
|Wilson, Micah