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During the cruise phase of flight, the pilots are engaged in the task of monitoring the instruments. This means that...
  • A
    the pilots are in a state of vigilance which requires a certain level of arousal to be effective.
  • B
    the pilots should divide attention to scan instruments individually.
  • C
    the pilots are experiencing cocktail party effect.
  • D
    the pilots do not need to scan the instruments, since their attention mechanism can monitor all instruments simultaneously.

This question presents a notable challenge, initially seeming to have two plausible answers. Let's break down each of these options:

  • "The pilots are in a state of vigilance which requires a certain level of arousal to be effective."
This statement is indeed correct, and there's no way to argue otherwise. Vigilance involves being attentive and watchful over an extended period to detect and respond to unexpected events. In this context, arousal pertains to the level of wakefulness and alertness necessary for a person during vigilance tasks. Arousal is a component of vigilance. In summary, during the cruise phase, pilots must maintain vigilance and a specific level of alertness to properly monitor instruments and react to any alterations or anomalies.
  • "The pilots should divide attention to scan instruments individually."

To begin, it's essential to distinguish between divided attention and selective attention.

Selective Attention: This type of attention involves continuously sampling incoming information to determine its relevance to the current task at hand. Certain stimuli, such as our names or callsigns, have a strong ability to capture our attention. Selective attention allows the individual to prioritize and process the most important or relevant information and helps him/her to concentrate on a particular stimuli.
Divided Attention: Divided attention refers to the ability of our central decision-making system to distribute its focus among multiple tasks. For example, a pilot flying a visual approach must divide their attention between maintaining the correct approach path and regularly checking instruments for critical information like airspeed, altitude, and engine performance.

This specific question mentions that pilots are engaged in instrument monitoring. It's safe to assume that automation is in use, meaning the pilots would mostly be employing selective attention.

It's worth noting that the initial feedback did not specify which option EASA considered correct. Therefore, we would greatly appreciate any additional feedback on this question.

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