Supervisory-level interruption recovery in time-critical control tasks

Farzan Sasangohar, Stacey D. Scott, M. L. Cummings

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Scopus citations


    This paper investigates the effectiveness of providing interruption recovery assistance in the form of an interactive visual timeline of historical events on a peripheral display in support of team supervision in time-critical settings. As interruptions can have detrimental effects on task performance, particularly in time-critical work environments, there is growing interest in the design of tools to assist people in resuming their pre-interruption activity. A user study was conducted to evaluate the use of an interactive event timeline that provides assistance to human supervisors in time-critical settings. The study was conducted in an experimental platform that emulated a team of operators and a mission commander performing a time-critical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) mission. The study results showed that providing interruption assistance enabled people to recover from interruptions faster and more accurately. These results have implications for interface design that could be adopted in similar time-critical environments such as air-traffic control, process control, and first responders.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)1148-1156
    Number of pages9
    JournalApplied Ergonomics
    Issue number4
    StatePublished - Jul 2014


    • Interruption
    • Supervisory control
    • Unmanned vehicles

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Human Factors and Ergonomics
    • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
    • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
    • Engineering (miscellaneous)


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