The Effect of Continuous Operations and Various Secondary Task Displays on Soldier Shooting Performance

Report No. ARL-TR-4268
Authors: David R. Scribner, Patrick H. Wiley, and William H. Harper
Date/Pages: September 2007; 35 pages
Abstract: Soldiers will be required to perform missions with advanced information displays as the Army transforms. Soldiers will also be placed under a range of environmental stressors including continuous operations. The need to provide an information display that is operable during extended stressful conditions is crucial to the mission success of the Soldier. Optimal Soldier-system performance is desired to maximize performance and minimize errors for the end result of increased Soldier survivability and lethality. This study was performed at the U.S. Army Research Laboratorys Human Research and Engineering Directorate shooting simulator facility. The study examined the the presentation of secondary task workload via an auditory display and two visual display conditions. There was also a no-workload shooting condition. The two visual display conditions consisted of a forearm-mounted display (FMD) and a helmet-mounted display (HMD), both configured with an auditory alert cue that informed the Soldier of a new math problem appearing on the display screen. Soldiers were asked to complete a secondary workload task consisting of arithmetic problems while engaged in a friend-or-foe shooting scenario with various stages of sleep deprivation. Data were collected every 6 hours for periods of 0 through 30 hours of sleeplessness. This study examined (a) the shooting performance of Soldiers during all conditions including shoot/do-not-shoot decisions, hit percentage, and response time, (b) the ability of Soldiers to complete secondary tasks in each display mode in a single and dual task paradigm, and (c) the ability of Soldiers to perform these single and dual task shooting scenarios continually for 30 hours without sleep. Participants were 12 U.S. Army Soldiers recruited from the 143rd Ordnance Batallion at Aberdeen Ground, Maryland. The shooting task consisted of a 24-target pop-up scenario with friendly and enemy E-type silhouette targets. Analyses of variance revealed significant simple and interaction effects.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: September 1, 2007