The complex tracking behaviour experiment by Parker and Fleishman (1960) was a forerunner of the complex flight simulators that are now in existence. A tracking device was constructed "to simulate roughly the display characteristics and control requirements of an airborne radar intercept mission". A control system involving a control stick and rudder pedals as in a standard aircraft control system was manipulated by the subject to control a target dot in the centre of a cathode ray oscillograph, and a needle of a voltmeter was used a side-slip indicator. The 203 subjects had to defeat an induced movement of the dot so as to keep the dot in the centre of the oscillograph. Side-slip error occurred when the subject did not co-ordinate the movement of the stick and the rudder pedals. Measures of horizontal error, vertical error, side-slip error and time-on-target were obtained.
Ten segments of the learning curve were selected by Parker and Fleishman to represent successive stages in learning. The error scores were reversed to produce accuracy measures. Thus there were 4 measurements for each of 10 stages of practice and together they formed a 40x 40 so-called multimode covariance matrix.
The file TRACSMOO.ZIP contains a zipped smoothed 40x40 covariance matrix (the smallest
eigenvalue was set at .1 and subsequently the covariance matrix was reconstituted). Differences with the original
covariance matrix are virtually unnoticeable. The variable Integrated Error Score is not included in the
covariance matrix to avoid further singularities (see NOTE below).
NOTE: The Integrated Error Score (IES) is a linear combination of the Horizontal Error Score (HES), the Vertical Error Score (VES), and the SideSlip Control (SSC): IES = 1/2 HES + 1/2 VES + SSC (see Parker and Fleishman, 1960, p. 5)
A large number of background variables are available, but they are not included in the data sets made available hree. They can be found in the original publication or can be supplied upon request.
A three-mode analysis of the multimeasure-multistage matrix is contained in:
Tucker, L.R. (1967). Three-mode factor analysis of Parker- Fleishman complex tracking behavior data. Multivariate Behavioral Research, 2, 139-152.
A new analysis of these data with both three-mode principal component analysis and three-mode
factor analysis is contained in:
Kroonenberg, P.M., & Oort, F.J. (2003). Three-mode analysis of multimode covariance matrices. British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology, 56,305-336.
[Colour figures from the Kroonenberg-Oort (2003) paper]