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Physiological Indicators of Mental Workload

  • Holger Ursin
  • Reidun Ursin
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 8)

Abstract

From a physiological point of view, a mental load, whatever that is, must be assumed to be a load on processes within the central nervous system (CNS). A load on this CNS could affect the activity of the CNS machinery, the energy requirements and metabolism of that machinery, their wear and tear, and therefore, the restitution of the machinery. Since the CNS exists within a body, there are possibilities that the effects on the CNS may also affect other bodily processes than those strictly concerned with information processing in the CNS. This raises possibilities of measuring the load since physiological processes in general are quite easy to monitor. In this chapter, we will describe and discuss some of the methods used for evaluating these processes, in particular those with which we have personal experience. In their position paper to this meeting, Sheridan and Stassen listed three mental load definitions which involved physiological processes. These are the information processing workload, the emotional workload and the energy workload. The “mental workload” following their definition comprises both the information processing and the emotional workload. Their energy workload is linked to effector processes only.

Keywords

Reticular Formation Slow Wave Sleep Mental Workload Physical Workload Physiological Indicator 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • Holger Ursin
    • 1
  • Reidun Ursin
    • 2
  1. 1.Institute of PsychologyUniversity of BergenNorway
  2. 2.Institute of PhysiologyUniversity of BergenNorway

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