CCE Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Information Systems (DCIS)


Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences


Maxine S Cohen

Committee Member

William L Hafner

Committee Member

Nickolas D. Macchiarella


cognition, cognitve overload, geospatial display, human-computer interface, information overload


This research examined the application of hypervariate display principles to human-computer interfaces with the intent of reducing the cognitive load placed on the operator during high-intensity activity. This research extended the existing body of knowledge relevant to reducing the cognitive load using human-computer interfaces. Existing research has explored the application of techniques that, when used in isolation, contribute to a computer operator's understanding of the data or efficiency in execution of tasks. This research studied the collaborative use of proven display techniques to improve a computer operator's ability to understand large amounts of data more rapidly and react to that data more effectively. These techniques, including the display of multiple variables in a single window, use of preattentive factors in the display, and the severing of geospatial dependencies on data significantly contributed to the reduction of cognitive burdens placed on a user in environments that are typically overwhelming. Experiments performed on 18 volunteer participants conclusively proved that the hypervariate display improved the participants' ability to handle increased workload, comprehend complex situations quickly and completely, and efficiently respond to the situation in an effective manner. This research has significant value and broad application to user communities where computers are used to control high-intensity operations such as military and law enforcement environments.

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