Author(s): Lesch MF
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Abstract This study compared the effectiveness of two different types of training in improving comprehension of warning symbols by younger (aged 20-35 years) and older adults (aged 50-70 years). The verbal label training paired the symbol with a label describing its meaning while the accident scenario training further expanded on the nature of the hazard, the required/prohibited actions, as well as the possible consequences of failing to comply. Contrary to prior research (e.g., [Lesch, M.F., 2003. Comprehension and memory for warning symbols: age-related differences and impact of training. J. Safety Res. 34, 495-505]), there was no difference in comprehension for younger and older adults prior to training, with both groups only obtaining about 40\% correct responses. Both types of training improved performance on a subsequent comprehension test. However, the accident scenario training produced a higher percentage of correct responses, greater confidence in those responses, as well as a longer-lasting reduction of reaction times. In order to further improve symbol design, as well as training to address comprehension difficulties, future research should more closely examine symbol characteristics that influence comprehension.
This article was published in Appl Ergon
and referenced in Journal of Ergonomics