Effects of physical workload on cognitive task performance and situation awareness
Sixteen participants performed a military operations simulation directing loading of helicopters to weight capacity within an allotted timeframe and subject to a set of decision rules. The participants stood, walked or jogged on a treadmill while performing the simulated cognitive task. Task performance was measured in terms of helicopter loading rate and accuracy. Situation awareness (SA) was measured using a simulation freeze technique and SA queries. Subjective workload was measured using the NASA-TLX. Results indicated a general trend of decreasing SA with increasing physical workload for perceptual knowledge, comprehension and overall SA. Results also revealed higher subjective workload during jogging than during the walking and standing conditions. However, the physical workload manipulations did not appear to affect cognitive task performance. This study has practical implications for defining physical and cognitive workloads in specific dynamic, complex work environments to support operator SA and performance. © 2008 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
Perry, CM; Sheik-Nainar, MA; Segall, N; Ma, R; Kaber, DB
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