Doing Science on Auditory Display Design in the Cockpit: Merging Laboratory Rigor and the Aircraft Cockpit Environment
Simpson, Carol A
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This paper will discuss a human-system and application centered approach to the conduct of research on auditory alerting system design, from the perspective of 30 years of human factors research on design principles for aircraft cockpit auditory displays. Too often there is a gap between the results of carefully controlled research conducted in the laboratory and the specific questions raised by auditory display engineers as they design a new auditory alerting system for the cockpit. Absent studies that are representative of the cockpit environment, research findings are often extrapolated to a new design without an understanding by the design engineer of other factors that may influence human auditory perception, signal processing, and cognitive interpretation. Alternatively, again in the absence of research findings applicable to the cockpit environment, the design engineer may present some alternative auditory signal designs informally to one or two project pilots, obtain their preferences and suggestions, and design the system to satisfy this small, unrepresentative sample of the user population. Even some of the current standards for auditory display design contain guidance that does not adequately take the cockpit environment into consideration. Examples will be presented with lessons learned and with recommendations for methods of incorporating the rigor of laboratory experimental design into applied research conducted in the aircraft cockpit environment, simulated and real.