Psychophysiological Measures of Fatigue and Somnolence in Simulated ATC

Eight Air traffic controllers carried out exercises using a TRACON II ATC Simulator. After a training and familiarisation day, the controller carried out four simulation exercises, two low and two high traffic load. His performance during each exercise was recorded, A self-assessment questionnaire for fatigue and a test of cortical evoked potential were applied and a sample of saliva was taken for cortisol analysis before and after each experimental session. The NASA-TLX was completed after each exercise and a test of alpha-rhythm attenuation was carried out at the start and end of each day.

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics 1998, Taylor and Francis,1998, ISBN 0-7484-0811-8 p429-433

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Psychophysics in Ergonomics, Where Next? ES07

For many years, psychophysical methods have been promising objective measures of mental effort. In spite of intensive and painstaking effort, however, no clear psychophysical method for the evaluation of mental effort (strain) has emerged. Two possible reasons for the comparative lack of success of such methods appear to be the inherent complexity of the relations between major psychophysical measures and the considerable quantitative and qualitative variation in individual human reactions to mental load (stress). There is also a dichotomy between the attitudes of ‘academic’ and ‘applied’ researchers. ‘Academic’ researchers are generally interested in an understanding of the physiological and psychological principles linking observable physiological and psychological measures. They tend to become involved in increasingly complex models of the human cognitive and physiological systems, including the physiological consequences of anticipation and habituation. ‘Applied’ researchers are more interested in finding an easily observable physiological measure that can be reliably linked to strain.

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics 2007, Taylor and Francis, Ed. P.D. Bust ISBN13 978-0-415-43638-0 pp.23-28

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Methods of Measuring Strain on Air Traffic Controllers : A Pragmatic Review

This paper summarises thirty years of pragmatic experience of the measurement of strain (and stress) in Real Time Simulations of Air Traffic Control. We distinguish the objective, measurable, workload ‘stress’, which does not differ from person to person, from the effect this workload has on the controller ‘strain’. Eurocontrol has investigated methods varying from secondary tasks to electroencephalography, in terms of the time-scales to which they apply, what they measure, risks of failure and bias, cost and suitability for automation.

Operational Records, NASA-TLX, On-line ISA, Debriefing, Questionnaires, Embedded Secondary tasks, Subjective Fatigue Assessment, Activity Analysis, Postural Analysis, Sleep Logs, Voice Stress Analysis, Blood Pressure, Body Fluids (Cortisol in Saliva), Behaviour, Ambient Sound Levels, Heart Rate, Sinusarrythmia, Electroencephalography, (Evoked potentials, frequency domains), Blink Rate, Eye Movement, Respiration Rhythm, Muscle Tension, Skin Resistance, Tremor, Peer Assessment, Structured Interviews, the Konzentrations Leistungs Test, the Grammatical Reasoning Test and On-Line SWAT measurement

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics 1999, Taylor and Francis, ISBN 0-748-40872X pp32-36

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Eye point-of-gaze, EEG and ECG Measures of Graphical/Keyboard Interfaces in Simulated ATC

To assess the utility of eye movement recording for the assessment of different ATC operating methods, its relation to other electro-physiological measures and their sensitivity to task difficulty, 8 controllers carried out four TRACON II exercises using a graphic and a keyboard interface in light and heavy traffic. An iView head-mounted eye-tracking device was used. EEG/EOG and EKG were also measured, and on-line observations recorded using the Noldus Observer System. Significant events during the exercises were also identified for detailed analysis.

Published in Contemporary Ergonomics 2000, Taylor and Francis, ISBN 0-748-40958-0 pp 12-16

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