Vigilance: The Importance of the Elicited Observing Rate

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Science  28 Feb 1964:
Vol. 143, Issue 3609, pp. 970-971
DOI: 10.1126/science.143.3609.970


Observing may be elicited by regularly repeated events that occasionally become signals. Such events were presented at rates of either 5 per minute or 30 per minute, and signals averaged 15 per hour during an 80-minute vigil. Observers missed about 10 percent of the signals with the low event rate and about 70 percent of the signals with the high event rate. The experiment supports a decisiontheory approach to observing behavior.