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In-Flight Workload Assessment Using Embedded Secondary Radio Communications Tasks

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A widely accepted conceptual framework which forms the basis for many workload measurement techniques represents the human operator as a limited capacity information processing system. According to this general model, workload may be defined as the degree to which the operators processing capacity is occupied by mental activities. Overload, and resulting performance decrement, occurs when capacity is insufficient to meet task demands. Since the momentary capacity of the operator is unknown and submaximal workload levels cannot be inferred from his or her performance on the task of interest, an indirect measure can be obtained by evaluating the amount of spare capacity available under a given set of task conditions. The behavioral approach to assessing spare capacity involves the use of the secondary task technique. In this method, operators are given an additional information processing task to perform in conjunction with the task of interest. The rationale underlying the use of secondary tasks is that by applying an extra load which produces a total information processing demand that exceeds the operators capacity, workload can be measured by observing the difference between single task and dual task performances. As noted by Ogden, Levine, and Eisner. Secondary tasks can be employed in two ways. Used as a loading overload effects in primary task performance. When secondary tasks are used as a workload measure, performance on th primary task is emphasized and secondary task performance is observed as an index of the workload of the primary task.

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  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems

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