The Psychometrics of Mental Workload: Multiple Measures Are Sensitive but Divergent
Abbreviated Journal Title
mental workload; dual-task performance; psychometrics; psychophysiology; neuroergonomics; TRANSCRANIAL DOPPLER ULTRASONOGRAPHY; SUSTAINED ATTENTION; SUBJECTIVE; MEASURES; HEART-RATE; EEG; PERFORMANCE; RESOURCES; CLASSIFICATION; VARIABILITY; VIGILANCE; Behavioral Sciences; Engineering, Industrial; Ergonomics; Psychology, ; Applied; Psychology
Objective: A study was run to test the sensitivity of multiple workload indices to the differing cognitive demands of four military monitoring task scenarios and to investigate relationships between indices. Background: Various psychophysiological indices of mental workload exhibit sensitivity to task factors. However, the psychometric properties of multiple indices, including the extent to which they intercorrelate, have not been adequately investigated. Method: One hundred fifty participants performed in four task scenarios based on a simulation of unmanned ground vehicle operation. Scenarios required threat detection and/or change detection. Both single- and dual-task scenarios were used. Workload metrics for each scenario were derived from the electroencephalogram (EEG), electrocardiogram, transcranial Doppler sonography, functional near infrared, and eye tracking. Subjective workload was also assessed. Results: Several metrics showed sensitivity to the differing demands of the four scenarios. Eye fixation duration and the Task Load Index metric derived from EEG were diagnostic of single-versus dual-task performance. Several other metrics differentiated the two single tasks but were less effective in differentiating single- from dual-task performance. Psychometric analyses confirmed the reliability of individual metrics but failed to identify any general workload factor. An analysis of difference scores between low- and high-workload conditions suggested an effort factor defined by heart rate variability and frontal cortex oxygenation. Conclusions: General workload is not well defined psychometrically, although various individual metrics may satisfy conventional criteria for workload assessment. Application: Practitioners should exercise caution in using multiple metrics that may not correspond well, especially at the level of the individual operator.
"The Psychometrics of Mental Workload: Multiple Measures Are Sensitive but Divergent" (2015). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 6696.