Evaluating Human Performance in a Complex Search-and-Retrieve Task
Authors: Shashank Uttrani, Bhavik Kanekar, Aadhar Gupta, Harsh Katakwar, Varun Dutt
Abstract: Prior research has investigated human performance in simple psychological tasks with a smaller cognitive workload. However, little is known about how humans learn in complex search-and-retrieve simulated environments. The primary objective of our research was to evaluate human performance in a complex search-and-retrieve environment. We developed a complex simulated environment, mimicking a military on-ground operation, using Unity 3D with targets and distractors. Fifty human participants were recruited to play the simulated game for 25 minutes. Participants were tasked to maximize their score by collecting targets items and avoiding distractor items available within the environment. The game's duration was divided into training and testing phases, which differed in terms of availability of feedback and the time duration (15 minutes for the training phase and 10 minutes for the test phase). In the training phase, the participants were allowed to navigate the environment to collect the items (14 targets and 7 distractors) with scores as feedback. Participants had to navigate the environment while collecting the items (28 targets and 14 distractors) to maximize their score without feedback. Results revealed a significant difference in the performance of human participants from the training phase to the test phase. The participants scored significantly more in the test phase without feedback than the training phase with feedback. Also, there was a significant increase in the proportion of targets collected over the time in both the train and test phases. We highlight the implications of developing simulation tools for training personnel in different tasks.
Keywords: training, test, human performance, search-and-retrieve task, simulated environment, reinforcement learning, human factors
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