Vigilance (from Latin, vigil;awake) is conceptualized as a special case of the broader psychological construct of sustained attention. Sustained attention refers to the ability to consciously or semiconsciously focus on tasks over extended periods of time, whereas vigilance may be defined more narrowly as a person’s preparedness to detect infrequent and unpredictably occurring events or signals over prolonged periods of time. The ability to detect targets can be influenced by many factors such as the salience, frequency, duration, and stimulus characteristics of the target, the stimulus field in which the target is embedded and the similarity and frequency of nontargets to targets, the period of time over which vigilance must be maintained, speed of performance, and other factors. Typically, vigilance requires effortful maintenance of attention, or concentration, to detect infrequent and weak signals. Vigilance is required in many real-world applications such as radar and...
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