Experimental Discussion on Measurement of Mental Workload--Evaluation of Mental Workload by HRV Measures--

Atsuo MURATA  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Fundamentals of Electronics, Communications and Computer Sciences   Vol.E77-A   No.2   pp.409-416
Publication Date: 1994/02/25
Online ISSN: 
Print ISSN: 0916-8508
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Ergonomics and medical Engineering
mental workload,  Heart Rate Variability,  respiratory sinus arrhythmia,  FIR digital filter,  AR model,  

Full Text: PDF>>
Buy this Article

The aim of this study is to evaluate mental workload (MWL) quantitatively by HRV (Heart Rate Variability) measures. The electrocardiography and the respiration curve were recorded in five different epochs (1) during a rest condition and (2) during mental arithmetic tasks (addition). In the experiment, subjects added two numbers. The work levels (figures of the number in the addition) were set to one figure, two figures, three figures and four figures. The work level had effects on the mean percent correct, the number of answers and the mean processing time. The psychological evaluation on mental workload obtained by the method of paired comparison increased with the work level. Among the statistical HRV measures, the number of peak and trough waves could distinguish between the rest and the mental loading. However, mental workload for each work level was not evaluated quantitatively by the measure. The HRV measures were also calculated from the power spectrum estimated by the autoregressive (AR) model identification. The ratio of the low frequency power to the high frequency power increased linearly with the work level. In conclusion, the HRV measures obtained by the AR power spectrum analysis were found to be sensitive to changes of mental workload.