Workload in highly demanding environments can be influenced by the amount of information given to an operator, and consequently, it is important to limit the potential overload. In the current study, we used the Detection Response Task (DRT) to assess the effects of enhanced heads-up display information ("symbology") on cognitive workload in a simulated helicopter environment. Participants (highly trained military pilots) completed simulated helicopter flights, which varied visual conditions and the amount of information given. During these flights participants completed a DRT. With increased heads-up display information, pilots landing accuracy improved across visual conditions. The DRT captured the increased workload resulting from the varying environmental conditions, and provided evidence for heads-up display information having negligible effects on workload. Our study shows that the DRT is a useful workload measure in simulated helicopter settings. We also show that the increased level of symbology appeared to assist pilots flight behaviour and landing ability, without compromising safety. This research highlights that a) the DRT is an easily implemented and effective measure of cognitive workload in a variety of settings and b) the potential for further cognitive workload evaluative methods in similar aviation and applied settings.
& Eidels, A.
(2021). The Effects of Increased Visual Information on Cognitive Workload in a Helicopter Simulator. 53rd International Symposium on Aviation Psychology, 462-467.