Remembering to execute deferred tasks in simulated air traffic control: The impact of interruptions

Michael David Wilson, Simon Farrell, Troy A.W. Visse, Shayne Loft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)
103 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Air traffic controllers can sometimes forget to complete deferred tasks, with safety implications. In two experiments, we examined how the presence and type of interruptions influenced the probability and speed at which individuals remembered to perform deferred tasks in simulated air traffic control (ATC). Participants were required to accept/handoff aircraft, detect aircraft conflicts, and perform two deferred tasks: a deferred conflict task that required remembering to resolve a conflict in the future and a deferred handoff task that required substituting an alternative aircraft handoff action in place of routine handoff action. Relative to no interruption, a blank display interruption slowed deferred conflict resumption, but this effect was not augmented by a cognitively demanding n-back task or a secondary ATC task interruption. However, the ATC task interruption increased the probability of failing to resume the deferred conflict relative to the blank interruption. An ex-Gaussian model of resumption times revealed that these resumption failures likely reflected true forgetting of the deferred task. Deferred handoff task performance was unaffected by interruptions. These findings suggest that remembering to resume a deferred task in simulated ATC depended on frequent interaction with situational cues on the display and that individuals were particularly susceptible to interference-based forgetting.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-379
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Applied
Volume24
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018

Fingerprint

Aviation
Aircraft
Task Performance and Analysis
Cues
Air
Conflict (Psychology)
Safety

Cite this

@article{5de8657e10294120afeb96cd3c6fb63f,
title = "Remembering to execute deferred tasks in simulated air traffic control: The impact of interruptions",
abstract = "Air traffic controllers can sometimes forget to complete deferred tasks, with safety implications. In two experiments, we examined how the presence and type of interruptions influenced the probability and speed at which individuals remembered to perform deferred tasks in simulated air traffic control (ATC). Participants were required to accept/handoff aircraft, detect aircraft conflicts, and perform two deferred tasks: a deferred conflict task that required remembering to resolve a conflict in the future and a deferred handoff task that required substituting an alternative aircraft handoff action in place of routine handoff action. Relative to no interruption, a blank display interruption slowed deferred conflict resumption, but this effect was not augmented by a cognitively demanding n-back task or a secondary ATC task interruption. However, the ATC task interruption increased the probability of failing to resume the deferred conflict relative to the blank interruption. An ex-Gaussian model of resumption times revealed that these resumption failures likely reflected true forgetting of the deferred task. Deferred handoff task performance was unaffected by interruptions. These findings suggest that remembering to resume a deferred task in simulated ATC depended on frequent interaction with situational cues on the display and that individuals were particularly susceptible to interference-based forgetting.",
keywords = "Air traffic control, Interruptions, Multitasking, Prospective memory, Situation awareness",
author = "Wilson, {Michael David} and Simon Farrell and Visse, {Troy A.W.} and Shayne Loft",
year = "2018",
month = "9",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1037/xap0000171",
language = "English",
volume = "24",
pages = "360--379",
journal = "JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-APPLIED",
issn = "1076-898X",
publisher = "American Psychological Association",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Remembering to execute deferred tasks in simulated air traffic control

T2 - The impact of interruptions

AU - Wilson, Michael David

AU - Farrell, Simon

AU - Visse, Troy A.W.

AU - Loft, Shayne

PY - 2018/9/1

Y1 - 2018/9/1

N2 - Air traffic controllers can sometimes forget to complete deferred tasks, with safety implications. In two experiments, we examined how the presence and type of interruptions influenced the probability and speed at which individuals remembered to perform deferred tasks in simulated air traffic control (ATC). Participants were required to accept/handoff aircraft, detect aircraft conflicts, and perform two deferred tasks: a deferred conflict task that required remembering to resolve a conflict in the future and a deferred handoff task that required substituting an alternative aircraft handoff action in place of routine handoff action. Relative to no interruption, a blank display interruption slowed deferred conflict resumption, but this effect was not augmented by a cognitively demanding n-back task or a secondary ATC task interruption. However, the ATC task interruption increased the probability of failing to resume the deferred conflict relative to the blank interruption. An ex-Gaussian model of resumption times revealed that these resumption failures likely reflected true forgetting of the deferred task. Deferred handoff task performance was unaffected by interruptions. These findings suggest that remembering to resume a deferred task in simulated ATC depended on frequent interaction with situational cues on the display and that individuals were particularly susceptible to interference-based forgetting.

AB - Air traffic controllers can sometimes forget to complete deferred tasks, with safety implications. In two experiments, we examined how the presence and type of interruptions influenced the probability and speed at which individuals remembered to perform deferred tasks in simulated air traffic control (ATC). Participants were required to accept/handoff aircraft, detect aircraft conflicts, and perform two deferred tasks: a deferred conflict task that required remembering to resolve a conflict in the future and a deferred handoff task that required substituting an alternative aircraft handoff action in place of routine handoff action. Relative to no interruption, a blank display interruption slowed deferred conflict resumption, but this effect was not augmented by a cognitively demanding n-back task or a secondary ATC task interruption. However, the ATC task interruption increased the probability of failing to resume the deferred conflict relative to the blank interruption. An ex-Gaussian model of resumption times revealed that these resumption failures likely reflected true forgetting of the deferred task. Deferred handoff task performance was unaffected by interruptions. These findings suggest that remembering to resume a deferred task in simulated ATC depended on frequent interaction with situational cues on the display and that individuals were particularly susceptible to interference-based forgetting.

KW - Air traffic control

KW - Interruptions

KW - Multitasking

KW - Prospective memory

KW - Situation awareness

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85050497083&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1037/xap0000171

DO - 10.1037/xap0000171

M3 - Article

VL - 24

SP - 360

EP - 379

JO - JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-APPLIED

JF - JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY-APPLIED

SN - 1076-898X

IS - 3

ER -