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Hum Factors. 1993 Dec;35(4):603-14.

Psychophysical determinants of stress in sustained attention.

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University of Cincinnati, Ohio.


To date, research on the stress of sustained attention tasks has not explored the extent to which such stress is determined by the psychophysical aspects of the monitored display. In the present study, the effects of the sensory modality of signals (audition and vision) and the background event rate (5 and 40 events/min) on task-induced stress were examined in a vigilance situation. Critical signals for detection were slight changes in stimulus duration. Stress was indexed by motor restlessness and subjective reports of fatigue. Restlessness and subjective fatigue increased dramatically across a 50-min watch in all conditions. Stress effects were most notable in the case of visual monitoring but were unrelated to variations in event rate. Hence, from a psychophysical perspective, the stress of sustained attention seems to be identified more specifically with the sensory modality of signals than with the event rate context in which they appear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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