Mental workload measurement for emergency operating procedures in digital nuclear power plants.

TitleMental workload measurement for emergency operating procedures in digital nuclear power plants.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsGao Q, Wang Y, Song F, Li Z, Dong X
JournalErgonomics
Volume56
Issue7
Pagination1070-85
Date Published2013 Jul
Abstract

Mental workload is a major consideration for the design of emergency operation procedures (EOPs) in nuclear power plants. Continuous and objective measures are desired. This paper compares seven mental workload measurement methods (pupil size, blink rate, blink duration, heart rate variability, parasympathetic/sympathetic ratio, total power and (Goals, Operations, Methods, and Section Rules)-(Keystroke Level Model) GOMS-KLM-based workload index) with regard to sensitivity, validity and intrusiveness. Eighteen participants performed two computerised EOPs of different complexity levels, and mental workload measures were collected during the experiment. The results show that the blink rate is sensitive to both the difference in the overall task complexity and changes in peak complexity within EOPs, that the error rate is sensitive to the level of arousal and correlate to the step error rate and that blink duration increases over the task period in both low and high complexity EOPs. Cardiac measures were able to distinguish tasks with different overall complexity. The intrusiveness of the physiological instruments is acceptable. Finally, the six physiological measures were integrated using group method of data handling to predict perceived overall mental workload.

DOI10.1111/j.1438-8677.2012.00675.x
Alternate JournalErgonomics