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Examining the Viability of the Neisser Search Model in the Flight Domain and the Benefits of Highlighting in Visual Search

Nunes, A. Wickens, C. and Yin, S.

Human Factors & Ergonomics Society 50th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (October)

We conducted four experiments to examine the visual search capability of pilots and examine how search times could be reduced, invoking the framework of Neisser’s serial self terminating (SST) search model. In Experiment 1 which manipulated target presence and set size, our results show increases in response time as array size increases: an effect predicted by the SST model. In Experiment 2, we manipulated the background against which the visual search had to be performed. We found that the detrimental effects of array size on visual search time are maximal when the search is performed against maps, which have large quantities of terrain information. In Experiment 3, we sought to assess the degree to which high and low-lighting could be used to reduce the search times of pilots. We observed that although both high and lowlighting reduced the search times of pilots, the observed reductions were not predicted by the SST model. The advantage of highlighting elements of the target was shown in Experiment 4.

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