Effects of multitasking on interpreting a spearcon sequence display for monitoring multiple patients

Alexandra Neary, Simon Y.W. Li, Isaac Salisbury, Robert G. Loeb, Penelope M. Sanderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Spearcons are time-compressed speech phrases. When arranged in a sequence representing vital signs of multiple patients, spearcons may be more informative than conventional auditory alarms. However, multiple resource theory suggests that certain timeshared tasks might interfere with listeners’ ability to understand spearcons. We tested the relative interference with spearcon identification from the following ongoing tasks: (1) manual tracking, (2) linguistic detection of spoken target words, (3) arithmetic true-false judgments, or (4) an ignored background speech control. Participants were 80 non-clinicians. The linguistic task worsened spearcon identification more than the tracking task, p < .001, and more than ignored background speech, p = .012. The arithmetic task worsened spearcon identification more than the tracking task, p < .001. The linguistic task and arithmetic task both worsened performance, p = .674. However, no ongoing task affected participants’ ability to detect which patient(s) in a sequence had abnormal vital signs. Future research could investigate whether timeshared tasks affect non-speech auditory alerts.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104072
JournalApplied Ergonomics
Volume112
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

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