Factors Affecting Performance Using Modified Sustained Attention to Response Tasks



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Since 1997 the Sustained Attention to Response Task (SART) has been used to measure human performance by evaluating speed and accuracy of participant responses. To expand on the existing research a series of 3 studies were conducted. The first study examined the effects of real-time feedback on SART performance and determined that while real-time feedback can alter participants performance to be either faster or more accurate there is still an inherent Speed-Accuracy Trade-Off (SATO) regardless of the presence of feedback. For this reason, it was proposed that a more accurate description of the task would be the Speed-Accuracy Response Task since the study findings supported the assertion that the SART measures the SATO and not sustained attention or vigilance. The second and third studies utilized a modified SART based on previous work using an agricultural scenario where the participants were tasked to identify and spray weeds, while not spraying when they identified soybeans. The second study incorporated a motor task requiring the subjects to move a cursor and click to spray. The third study removed the motor task and only required subjects to click as the cursor was automatically centered on the target. The results of these two studies show that incorporation of a motor task, while increasing response time slightly greatly increases the ability to successfully identify and withhold spraying soybeans. However, when the third study removed the motor task soybeans were much more likely to be incorrectly sprayed than in study two. Combined the findings of these three studies provide useful information for both researchers and interface designers of systems used by operators to quickly make Go/No-Go decisions for a variety of real-world applications