Date: January 17, 2018: 3pm-4:30pm

Location: Dunton Tower: Room 2203

Title:  Motion and Working Memory:  Bridging Applied and Fundamental Research to Understand How Motion Cues in Flight Simulators Affect Pilot Training.

Speaker: Dr. Chris Herdman

Abstract: Moving between applied and fundamental research encourages different perspectives that can lead to interesting and useful outcomes.  I will summarize applied and fundamental research on motion cueing that has been conducted at the Carleton University ACE Lab.  Our applied research is focused on gaining a better understand how flight simulators can be designed to improve pilot training. 

Our fundamental research objective is to examine the mechanisms and cognitive demands associated with processing motion cues.  It is generally believed that flight training simulators should include physical 6 DOF (degree of freedom) motion systems in order to effectively train pilots how to detect and utilize motion cues and to enhance a sense of immersion in a simulated environment.  To this end, the highest level of flight training simulators are required to include 6 DOF motion systems.  However, there is little evidence showing that including physical motion cueing in a flight simulator enhances pilot performance.  Indeed, in our applied research we have not found any clear impact of motion cueing on pilots’ ability to control a simulated helicopter.  On the other hand, our fundamental research has shown that the intentional use of motion cues places a demand on visual-spatial working memory. 

We suggest that the impact of motion cueing on pilot performance may be indirect.  Specifically, whereas motion cues may not directly affect a pilot’s ability to physically control an aircraft, intentional processing of motion information can limit the availability of visual-spatial working memory for other cognitive tasks in the cockpit.  Understanding this indirect link is important given the high cognitive demands associated with flying modern aircraft.


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