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Measuring workload during steering: A novelty-P3 study

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Scheer,  M
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons83839

Bülthoff,  HH
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

/persons/resource/persons83861

Chuang,  LL
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Scheer, M., Bülthoff, H., & Chuang, L. (2015). Measuring workload during steering: A novelty-P3 study. Poster presented at 57th Conference of Experimental Psychologists (TeaP 2015), Hildesheim, Germany.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-4746-7
Abstract
The workload of a given task, such as steering, can be defined as the demand that it places on the limited attentional and cognitive resources of a driver. Given this, an increase in workload should reduce the amount of resources that are available for other tasks. For example, increasing workload in a primary steering task can decrease attention to oddball targets in a secondary auditory detection task. This can diminish the amplitude of its event-related potential (i.e., P3; Wickens et al., 1984). Here, we present a novel approach that does not require the participant to perform a secondary task. During steering, participants experienced a three-stimuli oddball paradigm, where pure tones were intermixed with infrequently presented, unexpected environmental sounds (e.g., cat meowing). Such sounds are known to elicit a sub-component of the P3, namely novelty-P3. Novelty-P3 reflects a passive shift of attention, which also applies to task-irrelevant events, thus removing the need for a secondary task (Ullsperger et al., 2001). We found that performing a manual steering task attenuated the amplitude of the novelty-P3, elicited by task-irrelevant novel sounds. The presented paradigm could be a viable approach to estimate workload in real-world scenarios.