Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Human Factors Psychology

Committee Chair/Advisor

Gugerty, Leo

Committee Member

Pagano , Christopher

Committee Member

Pak , Richard

Committee Member

Duchowski , Andrew


Situation awareness (SA) is a measure of an individual's knowledge and understanding of the current and expected future states of a situation. While there are numerous options for SA measurement, none are currently suitable in dynamic, uncontrolled environments. Direct measures of SA are the most common, but require a large amount of researcher control as well as the ability to stop operators during a task in order to ask questions about their levels of SA. The current research explored the relationship between direct measures of SA and eye tracking measures as a first step in the development of an unobtrusive SA measure to be used in less controllable, dynamic environments. Two studies compared participant eye movements and SA in driving and air traffic control scenarios. Both studies showed that the more individuals fixated on an important, task-relevant event, the higher their SA for that event. The studies also provide evidence that the way operators allocate attention (i.e., distributed widely or narrowly) affects their SA as well as their task performance. In addition, study 2 results showed positive correlations between SA and task performance. The results indicate that eye tracking may be a viable option for measuring SA in environments not conducive to current direct SA measurement techniques. Future research should continue to explore which eye movement variables best predict participant SA, as well as to investigate the relationship between attention allocation and SA.



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