SOME PSYCHOPHYSICAL TESTS OF THE CONSPICUITIES OF EMERGENCY VEHICLE WARNING LIGHTS

This is a report of some exploratory studies aimed at evaluating the conspicuities (attention-attracting powers) of a group of commercial warning lights meant for use on emergency vehicles. The main experiment used a novel technique of conspicuity matching. Each observer, in turn, fixated straight ahead and viewed two flashing lights peripherally, one located 20 degrees to the left of the fixation point, and one 20 degrees to the right. One of the two lights was always a reference light whose intensity could be adjusted by the observer until the two lights appeared equally conspicuous. All the lights were thereby ranked on a single scale of conspicuity, based on the adjustable-light intensities. There was a good correlation (r=0.90) between these ranks and the measured effective intensities of the lights. Another, very brief, pilot experiment ranked some of the lights according to the number of degrees into the left side of the visual field that the flashes could still be seen. This disappearance-angle rank also correlated well (r=0.86) with conspicuity rank. Problems encountered and suggestions for future improvements are discussed.

  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Sponsored in part by National Inst. of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, Washington, DC. Library of Congress catalog card no. 79-600089.
  • Corporate Authors:

    National Bureau of Standards

    Law Enforcement Standards Laboratory
    Washington, DC  USA  20234

    National Institute of Law Enforce & Criminal Justc

    4340 East-West Highway
    Bethesdo, MD  USA  20014
  • Authors:
    • Howett, G L
  • Publication Date: 1979-7

Media Info

  • Pagination: 27 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00304241
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Source Agency: National Technical Information Service
  • Report/Paper Numbers: NBS-SP-480-36
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Dec 19 1981 12:00AM