Memory Processes of Flight Situation Awareness: Interactive Roles of Working Memory Capacity, Long-Term Working Memory, and Expertise
AbstractThis research examined the role of working memory (WM) capacity and long-term working memory (LT-WM) in flight situation awareness (SA). We developed spatial and verbal measures of WM capacity and LT-WM skill and then determined the ability of these measures to predict pilot performance on SA tasks. Although both spatial measures of WM capacity and LT-WM skills were important predictors of SA performance, their importance varied as a function of pilot expertise. Spatial WM capacity was most predictive of SA performance for novices, whereas spatial LTWM skill based on configurations of control flight elements (attitude and power) was most predictive for experts. Furthermore, evidence for an interactive role of WM and LT-WM mechanisms was indicated. Actual or potential applications of this research include cognitive analysis of pilot expertise and aviation training.