Using spatial context to support prospective memory in simulated air traffic control

Loft, Shayne, Finnerty, Dannielle and Remington, Roger W. (2011) Using spatial context to support prospective memory in simulated air traffic control. Human Factors, 53 6: 662-671. doi:10.1177/0018720811421783

Author Loft, Shayne
Finnerty, Dannielle
Remington, Roger W.
Title Using spatial context to support prospective memory in simulated air traffic control
Journal name Human Factors   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0018-7208
Publication date 2011-12-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0018720811421783
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 53
Issue 6
Start page 662
End page 671
Total pages 10
Editor Nancy J. Cooke
Place of publication Thousand Oaks, CA, U.S.A.
Publisher Sage Publications
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Objective: The aim was to examine whether prospective memory error and response costs to ongoing tasks in an air traffic control simulation could be reduced by providing spatial context.

Background: Prospective memory refers to remembering to perform an intended action at an appropriate point in the future. Failures of prospective memory can occur in air traffic control.

Method: For this study, three conditions of participants performed an air traffic control task that required them to accept and hand off aircraft and to prevent conflicts. The prospective memory task required participants to remember to press an alternative key rather than the routine key when accepting target aircraft. A red line separated the display into upper and lower regions. Participants in the context condition were told that the prospective memory instruction would apply only to aircraft approaching from one region (upper or lower). Those in the standard condition were not provided this information. In the control condition, participants did not have to perform the prospective memory task.

Results: In the context condition, participants made fewer prospective memory errors than did those in the standard condition and made faster acceptance decisions for aircraft approaching from irrelevant compared with relevant regions. Costs to hand-off decision time were also reduced in the context condition. Spatial context provided no benefit to conflict detection.

Conclusion: Participants could partially localize their allocation of attentional resources to the prospective memory task to relevant display regions.

Application: The findings are potentially applicable to air traffic control, whereby regularities in airspace structure and standard traffic flows allow controllers to anticipate the location of specific air traffic events.
Keyword Task interference
Time sharing
Conflict detection
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Special Issue: "2011 Human Factors Prize for Excellence in Human Factors/Ergonomics Research: Health-Care Ergonomics".

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2012 Collection
School of Psychology Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 7 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 6 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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