Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Joseph Houpt (Advisor), Brian Simpson (Committee Member), Scott Watamaniuk (Committee Member), John Christopher Brill (Committee Member)

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


The traditional method of maintaining spatial awareness through visual displays can cause visual system overload and lead to performance decrements. This study examined the benefits of spatialized auditory, tactile, and audio-tactile cues for maintaining awareness as a method of enhancing visual search performance. I examined visual search performance in an immersive, dynamic, three-dimensional (360-degree), virtual reality environment with no cues, spatialized auditory cues, degraded spatialized auditory cues, spatialized tactile cues, spatialized audio-tactile cues, and degraded spatialized auditory with tactile cues. Results indicated a significant reduction in visual search time from the no-cue condition when any cues were presented. The tactile display did not provide an additional benefit when combined with the auditory display. The results of this study can inform the creation of multimodal displays appropriate to specific operational settings, such as including auditory displays in dynamic settings or including tactile displays when the visual target is behind the operator, which will improve visual search performance, increase mission effectiveness, and possibly save lives.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Psychology

Year Degree Awarded