Comparison of NASA-TLX scale, Modified Cooper-Harper scale and mean inter-beat interval as measures of pilot mental workload during simulated flight tasks

Heikki Mansikka, Kai Virtanen, Don Harris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)
28 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

The sensitivity of NASA-TLX scale, modified Cooper–Harper (MCH) scale and the mean inter-beat interval (IBI) of successive heart beats, as measures of pilot mental workload (MWL), were evaluated in a flight training device (FTD). Operational F/A-18C pilots flew instrument approaches with varying task loads. Pilots’ performance, subjective MWL ratings and IBI were measured. Based on the pilots’ performance, three performance categories were formed; high-, medium- and low-performance. Values of the subjective rating scales and IBI were compared between categories. It was found that all measures were able to differentiate most task conditions and there was a strong, positive correlation between NASA-TLX and MCH scale. An explicit link between IBI, NASA-TLX, MCH and performance was demonstrated. While NASA-TLX, MCH and IBI have all been previously used to measure MWL, this study is the first one to investigate their association in a modern FTD, using a realistic flying mission and operational pilots. Practitioner summary: NASA-TLX scale, MCH scale and the IBI were evaluated in a flight training device. All measures were able to differentiate most task conditions and there was a positive correlation between NASA-TLX and MCH scale. An explicit link between IBI, NASA-TLX, MCH and performance was demonstrated. Abbreviations: ANOVA: Analysis of Variance; ECG: Electrocardiograph; F/A: fighter/attack; ft: feet; FTD: flight training device; G: Gravity; km: kilometer; m: meter; m/s: meters per second; MWL: mental workload; MCH: modified cooper-harper; NASA-TLX: NASA Task Load Index; NM: Nautical Mile; NN: normal-to-normal; IBI: inter-beat interval; ILS: Instrument Landing System; RR: R-Wave to R-Wave; SD: standard deviation; TTP: tactics, techniques and procedures; WTSAT: Weapon Tactics and Situation Awareness Trainer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-254
Number of pages9
JournalErgonomics
Volume62
Issue number2
Early online date30 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019

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United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Workload
workload
flight
NASA
performance
Equipment and Supplies
tactics
Analysis of variance (ANOVA)
Analysis of Variance
Electrocardiography
rating scale
analysis of variance
weapon
Weapons
rating
Gravitation
Foot
Values

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Ergonomics on 30/04/2018, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/00140139.2018.1471159

Accepted manuscript released 30th April 2018. Online Version of Record released 27th January 2019.

Keywords

  • NASA-TLX scale
  • Pilot mental workload
  • inter-beat interval
  • modified Cooper–Harper scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

Cite this

Comparison of NASA-TLX scale, Modified Cooper-Harper scale and mean inter-beat interval as measures of pilot mental workload during simulated flight tasks. / Mansikka, Heikki; Virtanen, Kai; Harris, Don.

In: Ergonomics, Vol. 62, No. 2, 01.02.2019, p. 246-254 .

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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