Tactile Vigilance Is Stressful and Demanding

Patricia R. DeLucia, Eric T. Greenlee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Factors
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • multimodal
  • resource theory
  • sustained attention
  • tactile
  • vigilance
  • workload


Dive into the research topics of 'Tactile Vigilance Is Stressful and Demanding'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this