Title page for ETD etd-05052006-095910

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Savick, Doug
Author's Email Address dsavick@vt.edu
URN etd-05052006-095910
Title The Relationship Between Color and Inattentional Blindness for Military Target Detection
Degree Master of Science
Department Industrial and Systems Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Smith-Jackson, Tonya L. Committee Chair
Beaton, Robert J. Committee Member
Kleiner, Brian M. Committee Member
  • critical stimulus
  • distracter stimuli
  • luminance
  • attention
  • Inattentional blindness
Date of Defense 2006-03-20
Availability unrestricted
When something is not attended to by a person, even when it is right before them, they won’t perceive it. This is known as inattentional blindness (Mack & Rock, 1998). Sometimes information missed due to inattentional blindness is trivial but inattentional blindness can become a problem when it hinders people from responding to something appropriately when a response is needed. When a visual cue is missed there can be an impact on decision-making.

Variations in color luminance may also be a factor in one’s ability to attend to something. For example, if a person is attending to a number of objects that are one color shade (for instance, dark green), it may be possible that this person might not see an additional object appear in their field of view (FOV) if it is the same color and shade. Conversely, the opposite might be true that a person is more likely to attend to the additional object if it is the same dark green color, opposed to an object that is colored a lighter green.

This research investigated whether some variations of luminance of the same color (for example, dark green to light green) can affect one’s ability to attend an additional object entering one’s FOV. A scenario was presented to tank gunners that required them to observe objects of one color (dark green) while an additional object was briefly presented to them colored either dark green or light green. In this between-subjects study, 48 participants observed four dark green and four light green enemy tanks moving about the battlefield. Each was given a task that involved monitoring the dark green tanks only. During their monitoring, an additional vehicle (M981A3 FIST-V) briefly entered and exited their FOV. The additional vehicle was presented to 24 participants colored dark green. For the other 24, it was presented colored light green. This research addressed whether there was an association between color luminance, FOV, or focused attention and detection of the FIST-V.

The results did not indicate an association between FOV and detection of the FIST-V [÷2(1, N = 48) = 0.08, p = 1.0]. Nor was there an association between focused attention and detection of the FIST-V using the following self-reporting questionnaires for determining levels of focused attention: ETAS [÷2(1, N = 48) = 2.06, p = 0.20], the CFQ [÷2(1, N = 48) = 0.75, p = 0.56], and the DAPI [÷2(1, N = 47) = 1.39, p = 0.75]. In the same manner, there was also no association between field dependence and detection of the FIST-V [÷2(1, N = 43) = 0.34, p = 0.75]. There was, however, an association between color luminance and detection of the FIST-V [÷2(1, N = 48) = 36.80, p < 1.0e-8].

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