Change Detection Flicker Task Effects on Simulator-Induced Spatial Disorientation Events

A visual stimulus change detection is an extremely important pilot’s cognitive process. This is especially true when pilot errors caused by perceptual failures have a negative effect on his/her spatial orientation. The aim of this research was to investigate the effect of the change detection flicker task (CDFT) on pilots’ response to spatial disorientation (SD) events. The authors hypothesized that the additional cognitive processing, based on CDFT, produces more deterioration of the pilots’ spatial orientation. Using an SD flight simulator, 50 male military pilots (M = 27.2; SD = 6.68) were exposed to 12 flight sequences. Of the 12 flight profiles, 6 involved an SD conflict, with 3 involving motion illusions and 3 with visual illusions. The authors measured and compared pilots’ flight performance in response to visual and motion illusion conflicts across two simulations (CDFT vs. control) and SD conditions (nonconflict vs. conflict). Of the six applied illusions, significant differences in pilot flight performance were found for three visual and one vestibular illusion (Coriolis). The differences were observed between control and CDFT groups for both nonconflict and conflict flight sequences, associated with the approach and landing maneuvers. The CDFT increased the pilots’ cognitive workload, affecting their flight performance and susceptibility to SD, especially in the approach and landing maneuvers. This partially supports the hypothesis that performing the CDFT leads to greater deterioration of pilots’ spatial orientation. The authors recommend that when problems in maintaining proper flight performance arise, pilots should not respond to external stimuli until they have recovered their spatial orientation.


  • English

Media Info

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01685947
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 2 2018 4:22PM