Dual-Task Performance During Traverse Climbing: Human Factors Implications for Emergency-Response Organisations
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Two experiments were conducted to investigate how performance on a primary rock climbing task is affected by the inclusion of a secondary word memory task. In Experiment 1, twelve experienced rock climbers completed a dual traverse climb and word memory task, with participants’ performance analysed relative to their single task performance (climbing alone and word memory alone). Participants’ climbing efficiency and word recall were significantly lower in the dual-task condition. Experiment 2 examined the effects of emotional content on climbing performance. Fifteen experienced rock climbers completed two dual-tasks, in which they were asked to recall negatively valenced or neutral words. Climbing efficiency, climbing distance, and word recall were all significantly lower in the dual-task conditions, relative to the single-task conditions. Climbing efficiency and climbing distance were also significantly lower in the negative word dual-task, relative to the neutral word dual-task. The findings from these two experiments have important human factors implications for occupational settings that require climbing-like operations, including search and rescue and fire-fighting.