Objective: The primary aims of the study were to replicate the vigilance decrement in the tactile modality, examine whether a decrease in sensitivity is associated with the decrement, and determine whether tactile vigilance is stressful and demanding. Background: When people monitor occasional and unpredictable signals for sustained durations, they experience a decline in performance known as the vigilance decrement, which has important practical consequences. Prior studies of the vigilance decrement focused primarily on visual vigilance and, to a lesser degree, on auditory vigilance. There are relatively few studies of tactile vigilance. Method: Participants monitored vibrotactile stimuli that were created from a tactor, for 40 min. Results: Sensitivity declined, self-report ratings of distress increased, and ratings of task engagement decreased, during the vigil, and perceived workload was moderately high. Conclusion: Monitoring tactile signals is demanding and stressful and results in a decrement in signal detection. Application: Monitoring tactile signals may result in a decrement in tasks requiring discrimination, such as monitoring lane position with the use of rumble strips; these require discrimination between current road vibration and increased vibration when the car drifts out of its lane and crosses over the strip.
- resource theory
- sustained attention