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On using fNIRS in the cockpit: Frontal cortical oxygenation changes as a means of measuring mental workload in simulated flights

Hamann, Anneke and Carstengerdes, Nils (2022) On using fNIRS in the cockpit: Frontal cortical oxygenation changes as a means of measuring mental workload in simulated flights. 47. Jahrestagung Psychologie und Gehirn, 16.-18.06.2022, Freiburg.

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Abstract

Flying an aircraft puts high cognitive demands on the pilot. If the demands exceed the pilot’s cognitive resources, this may lead to errors and severe, if not fatal, consequences. A continuous and objective assessment of mental workload could indicate when to provide assistance to the pilots, even before performance declines. A viable candidate for such an assessment is functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). In the present study, we used fNIRS to assess mental workload changes in a flight task. 35 participants completed a 40-minute simulated flight with an incorporated adapted n-back task: The participants had to perform course corrections in accordance with the n-back task in four difficulty levels (0- to 3-back). We assessed n-back performance and oxygenation changes in the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Our results show that performance in the n-back task was stable between the 0- and 1-back conditions, then decreased linearly with each higher n-back level. fNIRS data showed a decrease in deoxygenated hemoglobin (Hbr) with increasing n-back level. More precisely, using Hbr, we could discriminate all n-back levels apart from the two highest. We conclude that while fNIRS was not sensitive to higher levels of demand where performance already showed a steady decline, it was indeed sensitive even to slight elevations of cognitive demand that did not yet impair performance. In consequence, fNIRS is a promising method for mental workload assessment and its application in the aviation domain.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/185828/
Document Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Title:On using fNIRS in the cockpit: Frontal cortical oxygenation changes as a means of measuring mental workload in simulated flights
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Hamann, AnnekeAnneke.Hamann (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0001-6312-5116
Carstengerdes, NilsNils.Carstengerdes (at) dlr.dehttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-4056-1502
Date:June 2022
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:No
In ISI Web of Science:No
Status:Published
Keywords:mental workload; performance; fNIRS; functional near-infrared spectroscopy; aviation; pilot
Event Title:47. Jahrestagung Psychologie und Gehirn
Event Location:Freiburg
Event Type:national Conference
Event Dates:16.-18.06.2022
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Aeronautics
HGF - Program Themes:Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research area:Aeronautics
DLR - Program:L AI - Air Transportation and Impact
DLR - Research theme (Project):L - Human Factors
Location: Braunschweig
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Flight Guidance > Systemergonomy
Deposited By: Hamann, Anneke
Deposited On:28 Jun 2022 11:15
Last Modified:28 Jun 2022 11:15

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