Effects of Multimodal Displays About Threat Location on Target Acquisition and Attention to Visual and Auditory Communications

Report No. ARL-TR-4074
Authors: Monica M. Glumm, Kathy L. Kehring, and Timothy L. White
Date/Pages: April 2007; 55 pages
Abstract: This laboratory experiment examined the effects of paired sensory cues that indicate the location of targets on target acquisition performance, the recall of information presented in concurrent visual and auditory communications, and perceived workload. The multimodal cueing techniques assessed in this study were Visual+Spatial Language, Visual+3-D Audio, Visual+Tactile, and Spatial Language+Tactile. A unimodal "visual only" cue was included as a baseline. Except for reaction times to cues, no significant differences were found between the multimodal cue conditions and the Visual Only mode in primary and secondary task performance or subjective workload. Reaction times were faster in the Visual+3-D Audio and the Visual+Tactile conditions than in modes that included a spatial language cue. Reaction times to the visual+spatial language cue were faster than the spatial language+tactile cue, but no significant differences were found between the Visual+Spatial Language and the Visual Only modes. Adding the 3-D audio cue to the visual cue significantly improved reaction time beyond that of the Visual Only condition, but no significant difference was found between the Visual Only and the Visual+Tactile modes. Reaction times to cues were slower when communications were presented visually, but no interaction was found between communications modality and cue condition on this measure. Communications modality, however, did have a different effect on subjective ratings of effort in the Visual+Tactile mode than in the other cue conditions. In the Visual+Tactile mode, ratings of effort were significantly lower when communications were presented auditorily than when they were presented visually, but communications modality did not appear to affect ratings of effort in the other cue conditions.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: April 1, 2007