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J Gen Psychol. 1995 Apr;122(2):225-35.

Visual field tunneling in aviators induced by memory demands.

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Department of Psychology, Rowan College of New Jersey, Glassboro 08028-1701, USA.


Aviators are required rapidly and accurately to process enormous amounts of visual information located foveally and peripherally. The present study, expanding upon an earlier study (Williams, 1988), required young aviators to process within the framework of a single eye fixation a briefly displayed foveally presented memory load while simultaneously trying to identify common peripheral targets presented on the same display at locations up to 4.5 degrees of visual angle from the fixation point. This task, as well as a character classification task (Williams, 1985, 1988), has been shown to be very difficult for nonaviators: It results in a tendency toward tunnel vision. Limited preliminary measurements of peripheral accuracy suggested that aviators might be less susceptible than nonaviators to this visual tunneling. The present study demonstrated moderate susceptibility to cognitively induced tunneling in aviators when the foveal task was sufficiently difficult and reaction time was the principal dependent measure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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