Expertise and age effects on pilot mental workload in a simulated aviation task

Donald L. Lassiter, Daniel G. Morrow, Gary E. Hinson, Michael Miller, David Z. Hambrick

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


This study investigated the effects of expertise and age on cognitive resources relevant to mental workload of pilots engaged in simulated aviation tasks. A secondary task workload assessment methodology was used, with a PC-based flying task as the primary task, and a Sternberg choice reaction time task as the secondary task. A mixed design using repeated measures was employed, with age and expertise as between-subjects factors and workload as the within-subjects factor. Pilots ranging in age from 21 to 79 years and 28 to 11,817 hours of flight time served as subjects Of interest was whether expertise would mitigate the adverse effect of aging on pilots' mental workload handling ability as defined by two measures of secondary task performance: choice reaction time and accuracy. Results indicated that expertise did mitigate the effects of age regarding secondary task accuracy. Implications of results are discussed, and directions for future research are presented.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-137
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1996 40th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Part 1 (of 2) - Philadelphia, PA, USA
Duration: Sep 2 1996Sep 6 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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