immediate applications, and modest amounts of additional funding are likely to significantly increase the probability of success in VE training applications.

Psychological Considerations

RECOMMENDATION: The committee recommends that support for psychological studies be organized around the following objectives:

  1. Development of a comprehensive, coherently organized review of theory and data on human performance characteristics (including consideration of basic sensorimotor resolution, perceptual illusions, information transfer rate, and manual tracking) from the viewpoint of SE systems.

  2. Development of a theory that facilitates quantitative predictions of human responses to alterations in sensorimotor loops for all channels, with special emphasis on: (a) degradations in performance resulting from deficiencies in SE technology (e.g., in the form of distortions, time delays, and system noise), (b) supernormal performance achievable through introduction of purposeful enhancing distortions, (c) radical sensorimotor transformations that arise, for example, in connection with the use of sensory substitution or strongly nonanthropomorphic telerobots, (d) methods of accelerating both adaptation to various types of alterations and readaptation to normal conditions, (e) channel-interaction effects that occur with multimodal interfaces, (f) factors governing the occurrence, kind, and magnitude of sopite sickness from SE exposure, and (g) factors governing the strength of subjective telepresence and its relationship to objective performance.

  3. Development of cognitive models that will facilitate effective design of VE systems for purposes of education, training, and information visualization.

  4. Development of improved understanding of the possible deleterious effects of spending substantial portions of time in SE systems.

Although a wide variety of research on human performance characteristics has already been performed, the results have not yet been coherently organized to reflect the viewpoint of SE systems. Such a review would not be too difficult or expensive to prepare, and would be extremely useful to a large segment of the SE research community. In addition to providing important relevant information to this community, it would help delineate the further research that is required in this area to guide design of improved SE systems.

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