Monitoring Mental States of the Human Brain in Action: From Cognitive Test to Real-World Simulations
Functional mental state of operators in real-world workspaces is a crucial factor in many cognitively demanding tasks. In this paper, we present our recent efforts in studying electroencephalograph (EEG) biomarkers to be used to assess cognitive states of operators. We studied these biomarkers from a simple cognitive task to low- and high-fidelity simulated air traffic control (ATC) tasks, with both novices and professional ATC operators. EEG data were recorded from 25 subjects (in three studies) who performed one of three different cognitively demanding tasks up to 120 min. Our results identified two EEG components with similar spatial and spectral patterns at the group level across all three studies, which both indicated the time-on-task effects in their temporal dynamics. With further developments in the future, the technology and identified biomarkers can be used for real-time monitoring of operators’ cognitive functions in critical task environments and may even provide aids when necessary.
KeywordsFunctional brain imaging EEG Independent component analysis Mental state Human factors
This work was supported in part by NSF CAREER ECCS-0955260 and DOT-FAA 10-G-008.
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