The Effect of Cognitive Load and Target Characteristics on Soldier Shooting Performance and Friendly Targets Engaged

Report No. ARL-TR-2838
Authors: David R. Scribner
Date/Pages: November 2002; 58 pages
Abstract: The current study proposed to alter friendly target visual signatures and target exposure times to examine the possible interaction effects of a shootdont shoot friend and foe target discrimination task under cognitive load. These trials were performed as a single-task scenario and as a dual-task scenario under one level of cognitive workload with a secondary task. Participants were 12 U.S. Army infantry Soldiers, military occupational specialty 11M (mechanized), whose ages ranged from 18 to 34 years old. The friendly and enemy target set in each trial was a 24-target scenario that used friendly (varied as white or gray circular marking on the chest of the target) and enemy (olive drab green) E-type silhouette targets. Half of the targets were friendly and half were enemy. Ranges consisted of 50, 100, 150, 200, 250, and 300 meters and target exposure times were 4, 3, and 2 seconds. The secondary task, mathematical problem solving, was presented aurally while subjects performed shooting tasks. Dependent variables included overall hit percentage, reaction time, and friendly targets engaged. Also included were subjective workload stress ratings. Analysis of variance and regression analyses revealed significant differences for a number of performance and subjective data.
Distribution: Approved for public release
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Last Update / Reviewed: November 1, 2002