Fuzzy-TLX: Using fuzzy integrals for evaluating human mental workload with NASA-Task Load indeX in laboratory and field studies

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Journal Article
Ergonomics, 2013, 56 (5), pp. 752 - 763
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The aim of this study was to assess mental workload in which various load sources must be integrated to derive reliable workload estimates. We report a new algorithm for computing weights from qualitative fuzzy integrals and apply it to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration -Task Load indeX (NASA-TLX) subscales in order to replace the standard pair-wise weighting technique (PWT). In this paper, two empirical studies were reported: (1) In a laboratory experiment, age- and task-related variables were investigated in 53 male volunteers and (2) In a field study, task- and job-related variables were studied on aircrews during 48 commercial flights. The results found in this study were as follows: (i) in the experimental setting, fuzzy estimates were highly correlated with classical (using PWT) estimates; (ii) in real work conditions, replacing PWT by automated fuzzy treatments simplified the NASA-TLX completion; (iii) the algorithm for computing fuzzy estimates provides a new classification procedure sensitive to various variables of work environments and (iv) subjective and objective measures can be used for the fuzzy aggregation of NASA-TLX subscales. Practitioner Summary: NASA-TLX, a classical tool for mental workload assessment, is based on a weighted sum of ratings from six subscales. A new algorithm, which impacts on input data collection and computes weights and indexes from qualitative fuzzy integrals, is evaluated through laboratory and field studies. Pros and cons are discussed. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
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