Date of Original Version



Book Chapter

Rights Management

Abstract or Description

Complex tasks across fields such as aviation, military, and healthcare require operators to develop highly skilled and automatic levels of performance in response to critical stimuli in the environment. This research extends the findings from the dual-process theory of automaticity by considering the effects of two aspects in a complex visual search task: the stimulus mapping and the response mapping. In realistic visual search tasks, targets are often defined by a combination of cues needed for search (e.g., altitude and speed), and responses are often diverse for the same stimulus (i.e., destroying a target with two different weapons). Results from our experiments indicate that variability of mapping, at both the stimulus and the response sides, results in decreased performance and higher detection time. When all the cues were variably mapped, performance deteriorated compared to situations where at least one of the cues was consistently mapped. These results have implications for designing complex visual systems and training individuals


Will appear in D. H. Andrews, R. P. Herz, & M. Wolf (Eds.), Human factors issues in combat identification (pp. 85-98). Surrey, UK: Ashgate Publishing Limited. January 2010