Perception of urgency and alarm design
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Psychophysical approaches to urgency perception have identified acoustical properties modulating the perceived degree of urgency. However acoustical properties seemed less efficient in inducing perception of urgency when subjects were under high workload. The aim of the first experiment was to confirm, with a multidimensional approach, the validity of the acoustic parameters in urgency perception described by Edworthy et al. . The aim of the second experiment was to generalize the results obtained to real alarms. The multidimensional scaling approach confirmed the important role of acoustic properties of the alarms in the case of the artificial alarms of Experiment 1, but not with the real alarms of Experiment 2. The generation of alarms using only psychophysical tools cannot be generalized. The mental representation of the sequence probably interacts with the acoustical properties. This should have implications for alarm design.