September 2021
Volume 21, Issue 9
Open Access
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   September 2021
Transitions in daylight saving time negatively affect visual search performance
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Samoni Nag
    The George Washington University
  • Alfred Yu
    CCDC Army Research Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Ground
  • Stephen Mitroff
    The George Washington University
  • Footnotes
    Acknowledgements  Army Research Office #W911NF-16-1-0274; US Army Research Laboratory Cooperative Agreement #W911NF-19-2-0260
Journal of Vision September 2021, Vol.21, 2750. doi:
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      Samoni Nag, Alfred Yu, Stephen Mitroff; Transitions in daylight saving time negatively affect visual search performance. Journal of Vision 2021;21(9):2750.

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      © ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)

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Visual search—looking for targets among distractors—underlies many critical professions (e.g., aviation security, radiology, various military operations) and often must be performed optimally regardless of the time of day, week, month, or year. However, external events can potentially disrupt the ability to perform, making it important to understand any systematic influences. The current study examined one such specific influence that can possibly affect an entire workforce at the same time: Daylight Saving Time (DST) transitions—when the clock shifts forward or backward by one hour. Performance on a complex visual search task was assessed using “big data” from the mobile gaming app Airport Scanner (Kedlin Co.), wherein players take on the role of airport security officers searching simulated bags for targets. Performance was compared between individuals who played one specific level during the seven days leading up to a DST transition (pre-DST) and those who played the same level during the seven days following a transition (post-DST). Pre-registered comparisons ( revealed that, relative to the pre-DST group, the post-DST group was significantly slower, had more false alarms, was less likely to complete the level, and was more likely to fail due to running out of time. Gameplay on a control set of data (where performance was assessed between individuals who played the level before or after a Sunday without a DST transition), revealed no significant differences in performance. These results suggest that even minor, one-hour time shifts can create problems as they can adversely affect cognitive functioning; when an entire workforce undergoes a sudden time shift in unison (e.g., DST transition), the problems can be exacerbated for the broader system. The current study lends support to many existing efforts to end the archaic practice of DST.


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