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The Influence Of Complex Task Variables On The Relative Efficiency Of Auditory And Visual Message Presentation

Report Number: WADC TR 54-288
Author: Reid, L. Starling
Author: Morse, William H.
Corporate Author: Virginia U.
Laboratory: Aero Medical Laboratory
Date of Publication: 1955-04
Pages: 16
PB Number: PB129573
AD Number: AD0088065

Previous research on complex task performance has been aimed at an increased proficiency through the manipulation of certain task and operator variables. Among other findings, the results indicated that degree of practice on a patterned component and task complexity were significantly and independently related to total task proficiency, the former tending to increase proficiency, the latter to reduce it. The present study was an attempt to relate these results to those of the experiments comparing auditory and visual message presentation in which auditory presentation had been consistently demonstrated to be superior under conditions of a simultaneous distracting task. Basically, the experiment involved the comparison of auditory and visual message reception while the subjects were simultaneously engaged in performing a visual presentation-motor task. Experimental variables were sense channel of presentation, message length, and amount of previous practice on the visual-motor task component whose stimuli occurred in a patterned sequence. Results were measured in terms of overall proficiency of message reception and task performance combined. Practice on the motor task improved this overall proficiency, having a greater differential effect upon the longer messages combined with task than upon the shorter messages plus task. An original superiority of overall performance for the auditory presentation almost disappeared with increasing practice on the motor task. These results ompletely confirmed the predicted relationships based upon the previous research in both areas noted above.

Hunt Library, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University
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