Effects of warning validity and proximity on responses to warnings

Joachim Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

184 Scopus citations


The effects of a warning's validity and display characteristics on the responses to binary warnings were studied in a categorization task that resembled the control of a simulated production environment. Students performed a visual signal detection task and were aided by a binary warning indicator. Experimental conditions differed in the validity of the warning and its proximity to the judged stimulus. Participants' performance improved over the course of the experiment, and they partly adjusted their responses to the validity of the warnings but continued to respond to nonvalid warnings throughout the experiment. It was particularly difficult to ignore the nonvalid information when it was integrated with the continuous information. There was evidence for nonoptimal use of the information from the warning system, whether it was valid or not valid. The results indicate a possible distinction between two dimensions of users' trust in warning systems: compliance and reliance. Actual or potential implications of this research include improved warning design based on analysis of system and operator characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-572
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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