Cognitive engineering is a multidisciplinary field, which must consider tradeoffs in various areas in order to reach a result that as a whole improves system performance without causing negative consequences. The goal of this research is improved ergonomics and safety. The auditory displays in many safety critical human-machine systems today have poor design and there are many tradeoffs that should be considered. The meaning of an alert in its context, loudness level, confusion of signals, nuisance alarms, duration, urgency level and prioritization are only a few parameters that must be addressed. Natural Warning Sounds is a term for sounds that fulfill several requirements of a good design. These requirements are discussed in a thorough literature review (Ulfvengren, 1999) of fundamental principles of perception and information processing of sounds, their characteristics and their effect on performance and situational awareness. A multidisciplinary mix of people is involved in this research, which primarily concerns aviation, including engineers, a psychologist, a linguist, pilots and simulator-experienced researchers. Pilots contribute in interviews, experiments and simulations. Natural Warning Sounds are intended to convey relevant information, require fewer cognitive resources and increase performance in safety critical human-machine systems. The research includes analyses of existing systems, associability and soundimagery studies, and simulations for testing presentation logic.
2000. 742-754 p.