Date of Award

Spring 1991

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Committee Director

Glynn D. Coates

Committee Member

J. Raymond Comstock, Jr.

Committee Member

Raymond H. Kirby

Committee Member

Peter J. Mikulka


The present study attempted to operationally define and measure strategic behavior in a complex multiple task environment. The Multi-Attribute Task battery was developed to simulate various aspects of flight and consisted of an auditory communication task, monitoring tasks, a tracking task, a resource management task which allowed a wide range of responding patterns, and a scheduling window which allowed operators to predict changes in workload. This battery was validated for its sensitivity to strategic behavior and baseline measures for each individual task were collected.

Twenty-four undergraduate and graduate students then performed the battery for four 64-minute sessions which took place over a period of two days. Each subject performed the task battery under four levels of workload, which were presented for equal lengths of time during all four sessions. Results indicated that in general, performance improved as a function of experience with the battery but that performance decreased as workload level increased.

The data also showed that subjects developed strategies for responding to the resource management task which allowed them to manage the high workload levels more efficiently. This particular strategy developed over time but was also associated with errors of complacency. These results are presented along with implications for the aviation field and areas of future research.


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