Master's Theses

Date of Award

Spring 1965

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Dale Dick


This study was designed to investigate the effects of a flashing light upon simple tasks such as digit span, reaction time, and pursuit rotor, and a complex task, which combined the three simply ones. The tasks were selected as being representative of skills involved in operation of an airplane; the flashing light simulating such things as sunlight flashing through a propeller, the red rotating beacons used at night, etc. The data for each task was subjected to a 2x2 factorial analysis for repeated measures, with complexity (simple and combined tasks) and lights (steady and flashing) as main effects. The analysis of the digit span performance yielded no significant F’s. Pursuit rotor performance was significantly poorer with the flashing light than with steady light. Reaction time was significantly greater for the complex than for the simple task. It was concluded that cognitive processes as measured by the digit span are not significantly affected by complexity or extraneous interference from the flashing light. Simple reaction tasks are affected by the complexity of the task, but interfering stimuli do not seem to decrease performance. The pursuit rotor performance is adversely affected by extraneous stimuli, but the complexity of the task doesn’t appear to decrease performance.


Copyright 1965 Ross Edward Ailslieger


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