Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Alan Boydstun (Committee Member), Mary Fendley (Advisor), Subhashini Ganapathy (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSEgr)


Due to an abundance of data and dynamic nature of tasks, challenges with information retrieval in surveillance and target identification tasks have risen in today's Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) community. In this study, two variables, Area of Coverage and Amount of Activity (AOC/ACT), are manipulated to study their effects on the number of Watch Windows an observer can monitor. This research describes the analyst's task model, and explains how the level of AOC/ACT and number of Watch Windows affects the analyst's cognitive load. Results showed a significant difference in performance and physiological indicators of workload between high AOC/ACT conditions and low AOC/ACT conditions. Confidence levels were higher with low AOC/ACT conditions, while NASA-TLX ratings decreased. A linear correlation was exhibited between the number of Watch Windows and the number of fixations. The results show that these variables can be manipulated in tasking to maintain appropriate levels of cognitive workload.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Biomedical, Industrial & Human Factors Engineering

Year Degree Awarded