Dual vigilance task: Tracking changes in vigilance as a function of changes in monotonous contexts

Meuter, Renata F., Rakotonirainy, Andry, Johns, Bronwyn, Tran, Phillip, & Wagner, Phillipa J. (2006) Dual vigilance task: Tracking changes in vigilance as a function of changes in monotonous contexts. In International Conference on Fatigue Management in Transportation Operations, 11-15 September 2005, Seattle, USA, 11-15 September 2005, Seattle, USA.


We aimed to track changes in vigilance resulting from performing under conditions with varied levels of monotony and task demand. Accordingly task monotony and task demand were manipulated experimentally in a dual vigilance task. The central task required quick key presses to visually presented digits and the withholding of responses to an unpredictably occurring target digit. Non-monotonous and monotonous contexts were characterized by a high (p = 0.50) and a low target probability (p = 0.11) respectively. A second, peripheral task was introduced simultaneously, consisting of a moving circle that changed color unpredictably (p = 0.11). In addition to performing the central task, participants were asked to either ignore the circle's color change or to signal it by pressing a key. Response times and errors were recorded. As predicted, while performance in monotonous contexts was significantly faster overall, the requirement to respond also to a peripheral task significantly delayed responses. Dual task performance increased error rates overall (especially incorrectly withheld responses) but markedly so only in the monotonous context. Importantly, these performance decrements in monotonous contexts were observed on tasks that took less than 5 minutes to complete. It is concluded that changes in vigilance and consequent reduced performance can be traced as a function of context and task demands, independently of time on task. The implications of the dual vigilance task as a diagnostic tool are discussed.

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ID Code: 6291
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: monotony, vigilance, dual task, driving, Likert Scale
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > PSYCHOLOGY AND COGNITIVE SCIENCES (170000) > PSYCHOLOGY (170100) > Sensory Processes Perception and Performance (170112)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Centre for Accident Research & Road Safety - Qld (CARRS-Q)
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Health
Current > Institutes > Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 (The authors)
Deposited On: 02 Apr 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:37

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