Morgan, D'Mello, Abbott, Radvansky, Haass and Tamplin carried out a research to identify the cognitive factors that indicates predictability and adaptability during multitasking with a flight simulator. This article provides an interpretation of the original results.
Table 1: Correlations between IDMs and MATB scores for prediction of performance (Multitasking ability)
|Working Memory||.353||Medium prediction|
|Spatial Manipulation||.068||Low prediction|
To assess which IDMs predicted performance on the MATB, we correlated the scores on each IDM with the average performance in the baseline difficulty condition. Results from Table 1 show that Working Memory and Aptitude predicted general multitasking ability.
Table 2: Partial correlations between IDMs and MATB scores for prediction of performance after accounting for baseline performance in different difficulty conditions (Multitasking Adaptability)
|Measure (IDMs)||Single Difficulty||Interpretation||Paired Difficulty||Interpretation||Ramp-Up 2||Interpretation||Ramp-Up 3||Interpretation|
|Working Memory||.588||Very strong prediction||.215||Low prediction||.052||Low prediction||.222||Low prediction|
|Aptitude||.257||Low prediction||.302||Low prediction||.229||Low prediction||.153||Low prediction|
|Spatial Manipulation||.485||Strong prediction||.560||Very Strong prediction||.464||Strong prediction||.628||Very strong prediction|
|Creativity||-.331||Low prediction||-.034||Low prediction||.114||Low prediction||.092||Low prediction|
These correlations from Table 2 indicate which cognitive abilities predict performance when task difficulty increases. The result shows that Spatial Manipulation (in conjunction with Working Memory) predicted multitasking adaptability.
This was an exploratory research to identify the cognitive factors that indicate predictability and adaptability during multitasking with a flight simulator.
The sample included 32 participants either enrolled in a midwestern university or who were volunteers of various educational back¬grounds from a southern city in the United States. Participants selected from the university received partial course credit for participation in the study.
Dependent Variable: Individual Differences Measures (IDMs).
At the start of the experiment, participants completed a computer-administered battery of cognitive tests, including scholastic aptitude, working memory, creativity, and spatial manipulation.
Independent Variable: The Multi-Attribute Task Battery (MATB; Comstock & Arnegard, 1992).
MATB is a computerized flight simulator that requires users to simultaneously attend to four separate tasks: system monitoring, communications, resource manage¬ment, and tracking.
Participants first completed a battery of cognitive individual differences tests followed by multitasking sessions with a flight simulator. After a baseline condition, difficulty of the flight simulator was incrementally increased via four experimental manipulations, and performance metrics were collected to assess multitasking ability and adaptability.
The MATB task had five conditions: practice, baseline, single difficulty, paired difficulty, and difficulty ramp-up. No instructions were given regarding priority of the individual tasks or how the com¬posite score was calculated.
Brent Morgan, Sidney D'Mello, Robert Abbott, Gabriel Radvansky, Michael Haass and Andrea Tamplin (2011). Individual Differences in Multitasking Ability and Adaptability. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 2013 Chapter 55 Page 776 ISSN00187208.
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