Author(s): Mozrall JR, Drury CG, Sharit J, Cerny F
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Abstract Many occupations, particularly involving maintenance operations, require individuals to perform both physical tasks and mental tasks in restricted spaces. Researchers have examined physical task performance under various restrictions; however, little research has investigated the effects of restricted space on cognitive tasks. Cognitive task performance in restricted spaces presents cognitive demands (i.e. the task itself) as well as additional physical demands (e.g. awkward postures), which may adversely affect task performance or operator workload. This research focused on the effects of whole-body restrictions on cognitive task performance. An experiment was conducted that examined 9 levels of restriction created in a laboratory: an unrestricted control, 6 single whole-body restrictions at two severity levels (2 lateral, 2 sagittal and 2 vertical) and 2 multiple restrictions (sagittal/vertical, lateral/sagittal/vertical). An inspection task served as the cognitive task. Behavioural, physiological and psychophysical measures were collected and analysed to measure the operator and performance effects. Operator response differences were found among the various forms of restriction as well as the severity level of similar forms of restriction. Increasing restriction significantly affected the behavioural and physiological operator response as opposed to the cognitive response.
This article was published in Ergonomics
and referenced in Industrial Engineering & Management