Automation, task, and context features: Impacts on pilots' judgments of human-automation interaction

Kathleen L. Mosier, Ute Fischer, Daniel Morrow, Karen M. Feigh, Francis T. Durso, Katlyn Sullivan, Vlad Pop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Human-automation interaction (HAI) takes place in virtually every high-technology domain under a variety of operational conditions. Because operators make HAI decisions such as which mode to use, and when to engage, disengage, monitor, or cross-check automation, it is important to understand their perceptions of how system and situational characteristics affect their interaction with automation. The objective of this study was to examine how systematic variations of automation interface, task and context features influence professional pilots' judgments of HAI situations. Pilots received descriptions of crews interacting with flight deck automation in specific situations and were asked to rate cognitive demands and predict behaviors. Results reflect a complex interplay among automation features, task, and context. Automation features influenced judgments of workload, task management, and potential for automation-related errors; however, the impact of automation on situation awareness seems to be moderated by task features. Unanticipated tasks had broader effects on pilots' judgments than operational stressors. Results suggest that although changes to automated systems may be small in technical terms, their cognitive and behavioral impact on operators may be significant. Performance effects of automation changes in aviation as well as other domains need to be addressed with reference to task characteristics and situational demands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-399
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • automation
  • context features
  • HAI
  • human-automation interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Automation, task, and context features: Impacts on pilots' judgments of human-automation interaction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this