The effects of panel arrangement and locus of attention on performance

The use of mirror imaged controls within functionally equivalent control panels has been questioned in various applications, including aircraft control layout, machinery controls, and control room design. The mirror image research has indicated that in some situations mirror imaging may be a superior design in terms of operator performance. One possible variable which may affect mirror imaging of controls is the location at which the operator is focusing attention; external to the panel, or within the panel. The present thesis addressed the question of how the control panel should be arranged and if the locus of attention affected performance. A 2 x 2 x 8 factorial design was used. The first factor was locus of attention with two levels, internal and external locations; the second factor was arrangement with two levels, mirror-image and left-right arrangements; the third factor was trial block with eight trial blocks. This design was used to test these variables under usual operating conditions and under a simulated emergency condition. (See more in text.)