Hum Factors. 2019 Feb;61(1):5-24. doi: 10.1177/0018720818818028. Epub 2018 Dec 19.
OBJECTIVE: The present study examined whether tactile change blindness and crossmodal visual-tactile change blindness occur in the presence of two transient types and whether their incidence is affected by the addition of a concurrent task.
BACKGROUND: Multimodal and tactile displays have been proposed as a promising means to overcome data overload and support attention management. To ensure the effectiveness of these displays, researchers must examine possible limitations of human information processing, such as tactile and crossmodal change blindness.
METHOD: Twenty participants performed a unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) monitoring task that included visual and tactile cues. They completed four blocks of 70 trials each, one involving visual transients, the other tactile transients. A search task was added to determine whether increased workload leads to a higher risk of change blindness.
RESULTS: The findings confirm that tactile change detection suffers in terms of response accuracy, sensitivity, and response bias in the presence of a tactile transient. Crossmodal visual-tactile change blindness was not observed. Also, change detection was not affected by the addition of the search task and helped reduce response bias.
CONCLUSION: Tactile displays can help support multitasking and attention management, but their design needs to account for tactile change blindness. Simultaneous presentation of multiple tactile indications should be avoided as it adversely affects change detection.
APPLICATION: The findings from this research will help inform the design of multimodal and tactile interfaces in data-rich domains, such as military operations, aviation, and healthcare.