The role of transfer-appropriate processing in the effectiveness of decision-support graphics
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The current project is an examination of the effectiveness of decision-support graphics in a simulated real-world task, and of the role those graphics should play in training. It is also an attempt to apply a theoretical account of memory performance-transfer-appropriate processing-to naturalistic decision making. The task in question is a low-fidelity air traffic control simulation. In some conditions, that task includes decision-support graphics designed to explicitly represent elements of the task that normally must be mentally represented-namely, trajectory and relative altitude. The assumption is that those graphics will encourage a type of processing different from that used in their absence. If so, then according to the theory of transfer-appropriate processing (TAP), the best performance should occur in conditions in which the graphics are present either during both training and testing, or else not at all. For other conditions, the inconsistent presence or absence of the graphics should lead to mismatches in the type of processing used during training and testing, thus hurting performance. A sample of 205 undergraduate students were randomly assigned to four experimental and two control groups. The results showed that the support graphics provided immediate performance benefits, regardless of their presence during training. However, presenting them during training had an apparent overshadowing effect, in that removing them during testing significantly hurt performance. Finally, although no support was found for TAP, some support was found for the similar but more general theory of identical elements.
air traffic control
Stiso, Michael E. (2003). The role of transfer-appropriate processing in the effectiveness of decision-support graphics. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Available electronically from