Validation of a Physiological Approach to Measure Cognitive Workload: CAPT PICARD

Bracken, B.1, Leather, C.1, E.V. Cross II.2, Stephenson, J.3, Greene, M.4, Lancaster, J.5, Munson, B.6, Holden, K.2

Human Mental Workload: Models and Applications. H-WORKLOAD 2019. Communications in Computer and Information Science, vol 1107. Springer, Cham (October 2019)

This study validated a physiological workload tool during an investigation of information integration impacts on performance of a NASA electronic procedures task. It was hypothesized that as the level of integration of system and procedural information increased, situation awareness (SA) and usability would increase, and cognitive workload would decrease. To allow quantitative, continuous, and objective assessment of cognitive workload, Charles River Analytics designed a system for Cognitive Assessment and Prediction to Promote Individualized Capability Augmentation and Reduce Decrement (CAPT PICARD). This real-time workload tool was validated against the Bedford workload rating scale in this NASA operational study. The overall results for SA and cognitive workload were mixed; however, the CAPT PICARD workload and eye tracking measures (both real-time physiological measures), showed congruous results. The value of workload assessment during developmental testing of a new system is that it allows for early identification of features and designs that result in high workload. When issues are identified early, redesigns are more feasible and less costly. Real-time workload data could provide the inputs needed to drive future adaptive displays, (e.g., if an astronaut is experiencing high cognitive workload, this data could cue an option for simplified displays). A future vision for real-time, unobtrusive measurement of workload is also to use it in an operational spaceflight environment. Therefore, it is critically important to continue to test and mature tools for unobtrusive measures of human performance like CAPT PICARD.

1 Charles River Analytics
2 Leidos
3 NASA Johnson Space Center
4 KBRwyle
5 Honeywell
6 GeoLogics

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