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Task engagement and attentional resources: Multivariate models for individual differences and stress factors in vigilance

Matthews, Gerald, Warm, Joel S. and Smith, Andrew Paul ORCID: 2017. Task engagement and attentional resources: Multivariate models for individual differences and stress factors in vigilance. Human Factors 59 (1) , pp. 44-61. 10.1177/0018720816673782

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Objective: Two studies tested multivariate models of relationships between subjective task engagement and vigilance. The second study included a stress factor (cold infection). Modeling tested relationships between latent factors for task engagement and vigilance, and the role of engagement in mediating effects of cold infection. Background: Raja Parasuraman’s research on vigilance identified several key issues, including the roles of task factors, arousal processes, and individual differences, within the framework of resource theory. Task engagement is positively correlated with performance on various attentional tasks and may serve as a marker for resource availability. Method: In the first study, 229 participants performed simultaneous and successive vigilance tasks. In the second study, 204 participants performed a vigilance task and a variable-foreperiod simple reaction-time task on two separate days. On the second day, 96 participants performed while infected with a naturally occurring common cold. Task engagement was assessed in both studies. Results: In both studies, vigilance decrement in hit rate was observed, and task performance led to loss of task engagement. Cold infection also depressed both vigilance and engagement. Fitting structural equation models indicated that simultaneous and successive tasks should be represented by separate latent factors (Study 1), and task engagement fully mediated the impact of cold infection on vigilance but not reaction time (Study 2). Conclusions: Modeling individual differences in task engagement elucidates the role of resources in vigilance and underscores the relevance of Parasuraman’s vision of the field.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Q Science > Q Science (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: vigilance, fatigue, task engagement, cold infection, diagnostic monitoring
Publisher: SAGE
ISSN: 0018-7208
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 February 2017
Date of Acceptance: 10 September 2016
Last Modified: 03 Nov 2022 09:14

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