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Keep calm and don’t move a muscle: Motor restlessness as an indicator of mental workload

In occasione del meeting annuale della Human Factors and Ergonomic Society - Europe Chapter del 2013, abbiamo presentato il paper “Keep calm and don’t move a muscle: Motor restlessness as an indicator of mental workload” che presenta parte delle attività che abbiamo svolto all’interno del progetto di ricerca europeo “CyClaDeS - Crew-centered Design and Operations of Ships and Ship Systems”.

Subtle motor activity of the gluteal muscles and legs of the operator sitting in a chair can be obtained by using capacity sensors applied to the seat itself, thus making viable to easily record variations in motor restlessness during the execution of a task. The present study was aimed at studying the relation between variations in mental workload and variations in motor activity that are unrelated to the task to perform. Preliminary results from a laboratory study employing behavioural, ocular, subjective and motor measures show that motor restlessness can be considered as a promising indicator that can be usefully integrated in any data collection procedure for assessing the operator functional state.

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