In recent years, electroencephalography (EEG) has become a valuable technique for ergonomics studies of physical activities and other real-life tasks. Since the perception of force exertion is influenced by various psychophysical, cognitive, and social factors, different subjective measures have been traditionally used to measure the perception of physical exertion and related body discomfort. Along with the subjective measures, research showed that neural signals are also necessary objective measures to understanding human perception of physical tasks. However, EEG signatures of different physical exertion levels and perceived physical comfort have not been explored. The main objective of this study was to investigate EEG activity measured by power spectral density (PSD) for isometric arm forces at different levels of physical exertion and physical comfort. The first part of the study investigated PSD changes at five predefined force exertion levels, i.e., extremely light, light, somewhat hard, hard, and extremely hard. The healthy female participants performed physical exertions and rated their level of experienced physical comfort. Significant differences in force exertion and PSD for theta, beta, and gamma waves were observed. Significant correlations were also found between PSD, force, and rating of physical comfort (RPPC). In the second part of the study, PSD changes at predefined physical comfort levels were investigated, namely at very low, moderate, fair, high, and very high comfort levels. The participants also rated the level of perceived physical exertion. Significant differences in force exertion and comfort levels for theta, beta, and gamma power were found. In addition, significant correlations were found between PSD, force, and rate of physical exertion (RPE). Overall, this is a novel study where EEG signatures of isometric efforts by females have been investigated at different force and physical comfort levels. The reported results should improve our understanding of the neural correlates of physical tasks performed by females.


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Graduation Date





Karwowski, Waldemar


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Engineering and Computer Science


Industrial Engineering and Management Systems

Degree Program

Industrial Engineering




CFE0009123; DP0026456





Release Date

February 2022

Length of Campus-only Access


Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)

Restricted to the UCF community until February 2022; it will then be open access.