Formatting information to enhance pilot situational awareness without undue increases in mental workload

John Uhlarik, PhD

Department of Psychology

A human factors review of relevant literature to identify key perceptual and cognitive issues involved in information integration was conducted. Due to the advent of data-linked information to the cockpit regarding weather, traffic, terrain, etc., it has become increasingly important to format that information in ways that are intuitive and easy to access and use in terms of cockpit decision making. The goal was to enhance pilot situation awareness without undue increases in mental workload. The literature review covered issues such as spatial clutter, temporal masking, color coding, attention, system operation, and navigation. Then an experimental paradigm in a simulated flight environment was created to allow for investigation of how these factors can be combined to produce safe and efficient flight.

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