Adequate Level of Mental Arousal in a Cognitive Task
Final rept. 1 Apr 2007-1 Jul 2008
TECHNION - ISRAEL INST OF TECH HAIFA
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Study 1 examined the predictors of performance level in two types of GoNo-Go tasks. Study 1a focused on a vigilance task with rare events requiring a response in order to avoid a large loss. The results showed that both Heart Rate HR and Peripheral Arterial Tone PAT were good predictors of the ability of performers to succeed in this vigilance task. Study 1b examined a faster-paced task which required learning to differentiate between positive and negative cues or nature conditions. In this task, PAT was the only significant predictor of performance, suggesting that it is more sensitive to acute investment of mental effort than HR. Study 2 examined the potential of using the PAT in a biofeedback system where a person is informed of hisher low arousal. The results of a pilot tests showed that individuals were able to comply with the information given by the system, and improved their performance in the intervals following the arousal cues it provided.