An idiographic study into the physiology and selfreported mental workload of learning to drive a car

Matthijs Leendert Noordzij, Serena M. Dorrestijn, Irma A. van den Berg

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Abstract

A driving instructor has to monitor the performance and state (e.g. mental work load) of the pupil who is learning to drive. However, the instructor is also responsible for road safety. Therefore, it might be beneficial when additional monitoring technology would be available to the driving instructor. Fluctuations in skin conductance are indicative of changes in the autonomic nervous system and have been operationalized as changes in stress or mental workload. For the present idiographic study six pupils were followed during their driving training, while measuring their self-reported (and by their driving instructor) workload and their skin conductance levels (with a wrist-worn bio-sensor). The quality of the physiological measurements was acceptable in most cases. Most students showed their highest physiological values 3-7 lessons before their final exam. The driving instructor was good at predicting the self-reported workload of her pupils. Importantly, there was no correlation between physiological fluctuations and fluctuations in self-reported workload. This makes skin conductance measurement unsuitable to replace subjective workload assessments. The physiological data did provide first evidence that a modular driving instruction methodology, with several partial exams, seems to prevent extremely high physiological activity during the final exam.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Europe Chapter 2016 Annual Conference
EditorsDick de Waard, Antonella Toffetti, Rebecca Wiczorek, Andreas Sonderegger, Stefan Rottger, Petr Bouchner, Thomas Franke, Stephen Fairclough, Matthijs Noordzij, Karel Brookhuis
Place of PublicationPrague
PublisherHFES Europe Chapter
Pages-
Publication statusPublished - 26 Oct 2017

Publication series

Name
PublisherHFES Europe Chapter

Keywords

  • IR-102423
  • METIS-319311

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    Noordzij, M. L., Dorrestijn, S. M., & van den Berg, I. A. (2017). An idiographic study into the physiology and selfreported mental workload of learning to drive a car. In D. de Waard, A. Toffetti, R. Wiczorek, A. Sonderegger, S. Rottger, P. Bouchner, T. Franke, S. Fairclough, M. Noordzij, ... K. Brookhuis (Eds.), Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Europe Chapter 2016 Annual Conference (pp. -). Prague: HFES Europe Chapter.