The role of working memory in levels of situation awareness

Robert S. Gutzwiller, Benjamin A. Clegg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


Situation awareness (SA) brings together theories in cognition to examine what an operator perceives, understands and predicts about their environment. Previous characterization of working memory (WM) influence in levels of awareness however is sparse and has several shortcomings, including how both WM and SA have been measured. In the current experiment, a factor analytic approach to WM was adopted based on performance on three different WM tasks. These factor scores were then related to SA which was measured over two forms of scenarios in a complex dynamic decision-making task. In one scenario, Level 1 SA was assessed, and the other assessed Level 3 processes implicitly. Findings from 99 participants indicate WM was unrelated to Level 1, but was related to Level 3 SA with the relationship strengthening with increasing task experience. These results refine and contribute to ongoing theory in the context of SA and dynamic task performance, and provide future directives to individual differences research in human factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-154
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Implicit measures
  • Individual differences
  • Situation awareness
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of working memory in levels of situation awareness'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this