Gamified low-prevalence vigils

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Miranda, Andrew T.
Palmer, Evan M.

The vigilance decrement has been a well-studied human factors problem since World War II (Mackworth, 1948). A more recently discovered and fundamentally similar problem is the low-prevalence effect in visual search (e.g., Lau & Huang, 2010). Both circumstances typically produce substantial misses of critical signals, whether from a vigilance activity requiring sustained attention to a single information source for a prolonged period of time (See, Howe, Warm, & Dember, 1995), or from a visual search for rare targets in difficult displays (Wolfe, Horowitz, & Kenner, 2005). Furthermore, efforts have been made to apply some of the practices from the gaming industry towards non-gaming environments to increase task engagement and improve performance, a practice known as gamification (Deterding, Dixon, Khaled, & Nacke, 2011; Hamari, Koivisto, & Sarsa, 2014). The present project investigates the potential benefits of gamification in a low-prevalence vigil. A simulated inspection task featuring images of round metal washers as search stimuli was created for this study. Five total experiments were conducted: the initial four each assessed the impact of an individual gaming element on performance and experience (badges, a points-based challenge during a brief burst of high prevalence, storytelling, and points-based feedback throughout the task). Badges and points-based feedback throughout the task were ineffective at improving performance while the points-based challenge and storytelling were. The final experiment assessed gamified training as a practical way to integrate gamification in a low-prevalence vigil. Gamified training did not produce any significant benefits compared to traditional or no-intervention training. Practical and theoretical implications are discussed.

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Thesis (Ph.D.)-- Wichita State University, Fairmount College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Dept. of Psychology