Communicating Safety Information: Investigating How Distractors Affect the Recall of Key Safety Information in Pre-flight Safety Briefings

Distractors have been shown to adversely impact individuals' ability to acquire target information. However, not all distractors are the same. Distractors that compete/interfere for the same cognitive resources as the target, are thought to be more detrimental to performance than those that do not compete for the same resources. The aim of the present research was to examine the effect of distractors on individuals' memory, namely recall of key safety messages presented in an airline's pre-flight safety briefing. In a laboratory experiment in which one-hundred and twenty-four participants watched one of four different videos, two of which were paired with a distractor task (grammatical reason and computation task), we identified the adverse effect of the distractor task on recall performance. Minor differences were noted between the two distractor task groups. These results suggest the effect of a distractor on performance may be explained, in general by the additional cognitive load imposed, as opposed to the more specific competition for the same cognitive resources. From an applied perspective, these results highlight the importance of limiting distractors when important information to be remembered is communicated.


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  • Accession Number: 01716845
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 16 2019 3:06PM