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Proceedings Paper

Determining the resolution of a real-time arousal gauge
Author(s): Stephanie R. Fishel; Eric R. Muth; Adam W. Hoover; Leo J. Gugerty
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Paper Abstract

The Arousal Meter (AM) is a gauge derived from heart-rate variability designed to measure autonomic arousal. The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which the AM could differentiate state shifts in arousal that occurred in response to workload changes. A state shift was considered to be a statistically significant change in the level of arousal relative to the level of workload. Participants (n = 56) were engaged in a dual-task paradigm continuously for 31 minutes that consisted of one of two primary tasks - one high workload (shooting game) and one low workload (surveillance task) - paired with a secondary task (mental arithmetic). The experimental paradigm shifted from high workload (shooting) to low workload (surveillance) for time intervals of 30 seconds, 1 minute, 2 minutes, 4 minutes, and 8 minutes. Participants experienced each time interval twice corresponding to each level of workload. Arousal was averaged across each time interval for each workload level. Means between the low and high workload conditions for the 2, 4, and 8 minute intervals were significantly different in the expected direction (t = 2.20, p < .05; t = 3.82, p < .01; t = 5.85, p < .01). These results indicate that the gauge resolution is approximately 2 minutes. Hence, it appears that the AM is able to differentiate tasks from one another if the tasks are greater than 2 minutes in duration. Results are promising considering the type of tasks the gauge is likely to be used with are longer in nature. Possible applications include mitigation of task characteristics to optimize arousal and subsequently performance.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 May 2006
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6218, Chemical and Biological Sensing VII, 621816 (19 May 2006); doi: 10.1117/12.665190
Show Author Affiliations
Stephanie R. Fishel, Clemson Univ. (United States)
Eric R. Muth, Clemson Univ. (United States)
Adam W. Hoover, Clemson Univ. (United States)
Leo J. Gugerty, Clemson Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6218:
Chemical and Biological Sensing VII
Patrick J. Gardner; Augustus W. Fountain, Editor(s)

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