Vigilance pp 189-201 | Cite as

Concurrence of Electroencephalographic and Performance Changes During a Simulated Radar Watch and Some Implications for the Arousal Theory of Vigilance

  • James F. O’Hanlon
  • Jackson Beatty
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 3)


A simulated sea-surveillance radar monitoring task was employed to study the relationships between target detection performance and various physiological indices of arousal. Twenty subjects performed the task under different conditions designed to elicit differences in performance and arousal. Detection performance efficiency deteriorated as a function of time during a prolonged radar watch and improved during short alerted tests. Electrocortical changes involving the percentages of theta, alpha, and beta waves in the spontaneous EEG were consistent in showing a relationship between arousal and vigilance. Mean changes in heart rate occurred in parallel with performance and electrocortical changes under certain conditions, but the former were not correlated with the latter on an individual basis. The work is viewed as supporting an extension of the arousal hypothesis of vigilance into more practical occupational settings.


Performance Change Monitoring Task Vigilance Decrement Control Console Beta Wave 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • James F. O’Hanlon
    • 1
  • Jackson Beatty
    • 2
  1. 1.Human Factors Research, Inc.GoletaUSA
  2. 2.Psychology Dept.Univ. of CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

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