Relationship between sustained, orientated, divided, and selective attention and simulated aviation performance: Training & pressure effects

Robert Gray, James Gaska, Marc Winterbottom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Scopus citations


The present study examined how different characteristics of visual attention are related to flying ability. Eighty participants completed one of four attentional tests designed to assess sustained attention (SUSTAIN), attentional orienting (ORIENT), divided attention (DIVIDE) or selective attention (SELECT). Median splits were used to create low and high groups. After completing training, participants executed simulated landings under conditions of high anxiety. For the DIVIDE test, there were significant group differences in: (i) landing ability after training and (ii) the effects of anxiety. The high DIVIDE group had lower root mean square (RMS) errors at the end of training and were less affected by anxiety as compared to the low DIVIDE group. For the ORIENT and SELECT tests, there were significant group effects for training but not for anxiety. The high groups for these tests displayed lower RMS errors following training. There were no group differences for the SUSTAIN test. The results suggest that a test of divided attention may be useful for operational assessment of pilots.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-42
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Research in Memory and Cognition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016



  • Anxiety
  • Attentional control
  • Aviation
  • Visual testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology

Cite this