Fuzzy sets, Performance, Stress testing, Stress (Psychology)


Stress can be defined as the mental, physical, and emotional response of humans to stressors encountered in their personal or professional environment. Stressors are introduced in various activities, especially those found in dynamic task conditions when multiple task requirements must be performed. Stress and stressors have been described as activators and inhibitors of human performance. The ability to manage high levels of acute stress is an important determinant of successful performance in any occupation. In situations where performance is critical, personnel must be prepared to operate successfully under hostile or extreme stress conditions; therefore training programs and engineered systems must be tailored to assist humans in fulfilling these demands. To effectively design appropriate training programs for these conditions, it is necessary to quantitatively describe stress. A series of theoretical stress models have been developed in previous research studies; however, these do not provide quantification of stress levels nor the impact on human performance. By modeling acute stress under dynamic task conditions, quantitative values for stress and its impact on performance can be assessed. Thus, this research was designed to develop a predictive model for acute stress as a function of human performance and task demand. Initially, a four factor two level experimental design (2 (Noise) x 2 (Temperature) x 2 (Time Awareness) x 2 (Workload)) was performed to identify reliable physiological, cognitive and behavioral responses to stress. Next, multivariate analysis of variance (n=108) tests were performed, which showed statistically significant differences for physiological, cognitive and behavioral responses. Finally, fuzzy set theory techniques were used to develop a comprehensive stress index model. Thus, the resulting stress index model was constructed using input on physiological, cognitive and behavioral responses to stressors as well as characteristics inherent to the type of task performed and personal factors that interact as mediators (competitiveness, motivation, coping technique and proneness to boredom). Through using this stress index model to quantify and characterize the affects of acute stress on human performance, these research findings can inform proper training protocols and help to redesign tasks and working conditions that are prone to create levels of acute stress that adversely affect human performance.


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Graduation Date





Crumpton-Young, Lesia L.


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Industrial Engineering and Management Systems








Release Date

August 2011

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)