Do you feel... like I do? Individual Differences and Military Multi-Modal Displays

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Roger W. Cholewiak

Abstract: The design and implementation of multi-modal information displays can be affected by individual differences within the target user population. These differences manifest themselves at a number of sensory, perceptual, and cognitive levels. In general, such differences and their ranges are rarely taken into account in system design. Instances of significant differences among “normal” individuals will be considered particularly in the visual, auditory, and tactile sensory modalities. As will be discussed in this review of some of the pertinent literature, there can be substantial variation in sensation, perception, and cognition both within an age group as well as over the age span of the target population. For example, because the ages of military personnel can range over five or six decades, device designers have to account for the fact that levels of sensory sensitivity and acuity deteriorate significantly with age. This paper will survey a number of these individual differences, particularly those that have the potential for complicating the design and general application of informational displays for the military. Subtle variations in individual sensitivity and even perceptual “style” can undermine the “one-size-fits-all” philosophy of display design. These have the potential to affect the utility of the system under battlefield stress conditions.

Keywords: Individual differences, aging, tactile perception, visual perception, multimodal displays

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe100213

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