Assessing memory decay rate: what factors are the best predictors of decrements in training proficiency in a threat vehicle identification task?
Rowan, Charles P.
Shattuck, Lawrence G.
McCauley, Michael E.
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Threat vehicle identification (TVI) is a key task in reducing fratricide on the battlefield. Military skills such as TVI are susceptible to memory decay. This research investigates the factors that are the best predictors of performance decrement in a TVI task. Thirty active-duty officers were randomly assigned to one of five groups of six. Each group was trained on vehicle identification using the U.S. Army’s Recognition of Combat Vehicles (ROC-V). All participants trained on 10 thermal and 10 visible vehicle images and reached a training proficiency of at least 90 percent on training post-tests. Each group was assigned a day when they would return to retake the post-tests. The groups returned 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 days later. Participants also completed a recognition memory test to assess their individual memory levels. The results of this research indicate that memory does not decay exponentially for the TVI task. However, participants performed worse on the thermal image set than on the visible image set. Performance on the recognition memory test and time to complete training were significant predictors of performance on the TVI task. Results of this study could help shape TVI training plans and reduce the risk of fratricide.
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