Date of Award

5-2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Legacy Department

Applied Psychology

Advisor

Gugerty, Lee

Committee Member

Pak , Rich

Committee Member

Switzer , Fred

Abstract

This study was undertaken to examine the question of how well Ecological Interface Design (EID) would support operators of a multitasking work domains. Previous research has shown that EID can support better operator performance while controlling a simulated process. Recently, there has been some interest in applying EID to automobiles, planes, and other multitasking domains. This research aimed to answer a more basic question: whether or not people could detect errors using EID while trying to do well on a visual psychomotor task.
The experiment used two tasks. The first task involved monitoring errors in a simulated process control plant, using an EID interface or a non-EID interface. The second task was the ball task. The ball task had participants try to catch virtual balls on screen by moving a block on the screen. The ball task had two levels, fast and slow.
It was predicted that the participants in the EID condition would perform better at error monitoring than participants in the non-EID interface condition. It was further predicted that error monitoring in the EID condition would be less negatively affected by the increase in workload than in the non-EID condition. The results did not support the predicted superiority for EID. Although these findings are inconclusive, they suggest potential problems in using EID in multitasking environments.

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