Human Vigilance and Operant Behavior

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The analysis of vigilance as operant behavior treats illumination (observing) responses as operants that produce signal-detections. Evidence is presented that the relationship is an artifact of the procedure, and that no vigilance factor is involved in illumination-responses.

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... Vigilance is synonymous with long-term attentive behavior (Davies and Parasuraman, 1982) and sustained attention (Parasuraman, 1986). According to Jerison and Wing (1963), vigilance is a general problem of attention or alertness. The word attention however, unlike vigilance, is used with little confusion in daily affairs (Edwards, 1990). ...
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The purpose of this research is to identify the underlying abilities and traits required for successful performance as an airline passenger security screener. The primary focus of this effort is to develop a validated selection battery and protocols that can be easily administered across a wide dispersion of organizations in the aviation security industry. Aside from the obvious costs associated with recruiting, selecting, and training replacement employees, there is likely to be a detrimental impact on the effectiveness of airline passenger screening when a substantial percentage of the workforce are novice workers. This research program seeks to identify the causes of employee satisfaction/dissatisfaction and develop appropriate interventions to curb existing retention problems. A final objective of this program is to establish criteria that discriminates levels of effectiveness among screeners. An effective and reliable performance measurement system is required for this effort, and can provide useful criteria for other programs responsible for the establishment and validation of screener training, evaluation of advanced hardware, and implementation of screener performance evaluation systems.
... e is more rewarding for participants facing low reliable automation, or more 'laborious' for those facing highly reliable automation as they 'look for nothing' more often. It must be noted that the cost of 'looking for nothing' was only included as an indirect cost in the model, the cost of potentially be missing events in the unobserved lookzones. Jerison and Wing (1963) argued that detection rate provides reinforcement and hence control of the rate of the 'observing response'. Thus, detecting a failure could reinforce the sampling of the monitoring task. The design of this task, which requires a similar sampling rate regardless of automation reliability to reach a given detection rate, could thus partl ...
This article discusses the development of a model that defines the optimal sampling behaviour of operators in a multi-task flight simulation, where one of the tasks is automated. The goal of this model is to assign a cost function to the attention allocation strategy of participants, allowing us to assess the efficiency of their overall strategy. The model revealed that the optimal sampling strategy should be the same regardless of the automation reliability. When applied to previously reported empirical data, the model revealed that participants using constant, highly reliable automation demonstrated more 'expensive' monitoring behaviour. However, their monitoring behaviour became more efficient over time, which is inconsistent with the conclusion that the poor overall monitoring performance was due to complacency. This model allowed us to define an optimal monitoring performance, which is an important step in being able to accurately assess "complacency". Full Text at Springer, may require registration or fee
The purpose of the research was to induce motivation in signal detection by manipulation of costs and payoffs. Expressed in terms of Smith's theory (1966), a subject's willingness to observe and report signals was manipulated. (Author)
This bibliography lists technical reports, technical notes, contractor reports, memorandum reports, and journal articles prepared by the Behavioral Sciences Laboratory and its contractors from 1945 through 1961. The Behavioral Sciences Laboratory conducts research and development in the fields of human engineering, training, psychophysiology, physical anthropology, and simulation techniques. The Human Engineering Branch executes research and development on human performance capabilities and limitations as they relate to operation and maintenance of aircraft, missile, and manned space vehicle systems. The Training Research Branch accomplishes research and technical development in the areas of training techniques, psychological and engineering aspects of training equipment, personnel requirements of new weapon systems, and the effects of environmental stress on human performance.
Vigilance as a human factors area is concerned with the fact that man is much less capable as a detector of signals under operational conditions than would be indicated by laboratory measures of his sensory thresholds. The area, which is obviously important for the analysis of man's visual capabilities in the operation of manned space systems, is re-examined with the help of a theoretical model that introduces a decision–theory approach to the observing response phase of the vigilance task. After a critical review of the vigilance literature, examples are presented of the application of this approach to the solution of human factors problems of the sort that might arise in manned space missions. The model is also used to suggest the kind of research that would make it easier to predict field monitoring performance from laboratory experiments.
it has been suggested that level of performance in a vigilance task is accurately reflected by frequency of observing responses. By means of photography it has been demonstrated that under conditions where a decrement in vigilance performance does not occur, the frequency of nonobserving behaviorand general activity increases in time.