V 21 AUG 04 13:30. j. p. krol ©
Following the research with the fireman on top of their ladders (exp. 3) the usefulness of the same measurement equipment (BCG with LDSR-unit)was tested in a fire fighting simulation.
The fire fighters where instructed to find a fire simulator in the corridors of a pitch dark "Atlantic wall Bunker" at the shore of Wassenaar.
The bunker was filled with smoke and tear-gas. The fire fighters where wearing breathing apparatus.
The fire simulator consisted of an apparatus emitting yellow/orange flame like flickering lights and sounds typical for a blazing fire. Through the smoke it could not be distinguished from a real fire.
Trying to find their way through the dark corridors they also had to operate the LDSR-unit (described under 13 / exp. 12).
Purpose of this experiment was to to investigate if the LDSR -unit could be used under the circumstances as described or if it would need further modification.
Results obtained with this unit could be considered representative for the "stress (or workload) levels" of the situation and /or for the effect of the situation on reserve (a.k. spare) information handling capacity as defined earlier (exp. 1A, ATC controllers workload).
Results indicate once more that the binary choice generator with LDSR unit is a very useful combination of apparatus to obtain objective data of significant phenomena closely related to mental functioning under complex circumstances, which are difficult to access without this type of measurement equipment.
When comparing BCG/LDSR performance of the firefighters on the ladder (exp. 3) with the performance in the Bunker it is clear that performance on the ladder is not significantly affected.
In the bunker performance very obviously is affected.
This is only an explorative experiment to demonstrate the usefulness of the BCG/LDSR system in complex situations. The actual registration of the data is not included here (yet). They are comparable to the registration and processing examples as described under 13/exp. 12) .
It is important to note that performance on a Binary choice generator can be regarded as an operational definition of information handling capacity.
There may be a main task or condition , to which preference has to be given, with the binary choice task as a secondary task.
The performance on the binary choice generator can then be regarded as measuring spare information handling capacity.
Comparing the fire fighters on the ladder it was observed by the experimenter that they where climbing the ladder in a casual and routine like manner (see exp. 3).
Consequently the measurement condition as described, standing at 15 meters or on top of the ladder, had no effect on their spare information handling capacity.
The situation in the dark, smoke and tear gases filled bunker was different.
Apart from possible discomforts subjects frequently had to oriŽnt themselves and make decisions with regard to the possible position of the distant fire (simulator).
It was observed by the experimenter that this was by no means a routine situation for them. It was a complex primary task which did affect their spare information handling capacity.
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