International audience; The ability of air traffic controllers to deal with complex situations is a limiting factor in airspace capacity. The underlying airspace structure and other procedural elements are thought to be important factors in reducing a controller's cognitive complexity through the use of structure based abstractions. Because cognitive complexity cannot be directly observed it must be investigated indirectly. This paper discusses and presents examples of how directly observable states and controllers' subjective responses can be used to indirectly probe and gain insight into how structure based abstractions are used to manage cognitive complexity.
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