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A new class of auditory warning signals for complex systems: auditory icons



A new class of auditory warning signals for complex systems: auditory icons



Human Factors 41(4): 608-618



This simulator-based study examined conventional auditory warnings (tonal, nonverbal sounds) and auditory icons (representational, nonverbal sounds), alone and in combination with a dash-mounted visual display, to present information about impending collision situations to commercial motor vehicle operators. Brake response times were measured for impending front-to-rear collision scenarios under 6 display configurations, 2 vehicle speeds, and 2 levels of headway. Accident occurrence was measured for impending side collision scenarios under 2 vehicle speeds, 2 levels of visual workload, 2 auditory displays, absence/presence of mirrors, and absence/presence of a dash-mounted iconic visual display. For both front-to-rear and side collision scenarios, auditory icons elicited significantly improved driver performance over conventional auditory warnings. Driver performance improved when collision warning information was presented through multiple modalities. Brake response times were significantly faster for impending front-to-rear collision scenarios using the longer headway condition. The presence of mirrors significantly reduced the number of accidents for impending side collision scenarios. Subjective preference data indicated that participants preferred multimodal displays over single-modality displays. Actual or potential applications for this research include auditory displays and warnings, information presentation, and the development of alternative user interfaces.

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Accession: 045079402

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PMID: 10774131


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