Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

James P. Bliss

Committee Member

Yusuke Yamani

Committee Member

Holly Handley


Research on sensor-based signaling systems suggests that false alarms and misses affect operator dependence via two independent psychological processes, hypothesized as two types of trust. These two types of trust manifest in two categorically different behaviors: compliance and reliance. The current study links the theoretical perspective outlined by Lee and See (2004) to the compliance-reliance paradigm, and argues that trust mediates the false alarm-compliance relationship but not the miss-reliance relationship. Specifically, the key conditions to allow the mediation of trust are: The operator is presented with a salient choice to depend on the signaling system and the risk associated with non-dependence is recognized. Eighty-eight participants interacted with a primary flight simulation task and a secondary signaling system task. Participants were asked to evaluate their trust in the signaling system according to the informational bases of trust: Performance, process, and purpose. Half of the participants were in a high risk group and half were in a low risk group. The signaling systems varied by reliability (90%, 60%) within subjects and error bias (false alarm prone, miss prone) between subjects. Generally, analyses supported the hypotheses. Reliability affected compliance, but only in the false alarm prone group. Alternatively, reliability affected reliance, but only in the miss prone group. Higher reliability led to higher subjective trust. Conditional indirect effects indicated that individual factors of trust mediated the relationship between false alarm rate and compliance (i.e., purpose) and reliance (i.e., process), but only in the high risk groups. Serial mediation analyses indicated that the false alarm rate affected compliance and reliance through the sequential ordering of the factors of trust, all stemming from performance. Miss rate did not affect reliance through any of the factors of trust. The theoretical implications of this study suggest the compliance-reliance paradigm is not the reflection of two independent types of trust. The practical applications of this research could be to update training and design recommendations that are based upon the assumption of trust causing operator responses regardless of error bias.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).