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 journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)246-254
JournalErgonomics
Volume62
Issue number2
Early online date30 Apr 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

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

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