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Pupillary Measures as Indicators of Cognitively Versus Automatically Controlled Processes

Sofia Granberg ; Malin Wallhede
Göteborg : Chalmers tekniska högskola, 2018. Master's thesis - Department of Mechanics and Maritime Sciences; 2018:33, 2018.
[Examensarbete på avancerad nivå]

The Cognitive Control Hypothesis is a hypothesis that states how car drivers are affected by cognitive load. It says that ”Cognitive load selectively impairs driving subtasks that rely on cognitive control but leaves automatic performance unaffected”. To test if this hypothesis is true, a method for measuring both cognitively demanding and automatized tasks is needed, but also a method for distinguishing between these two conditions. This thesis was conducted at the Vehicle Safety Division at Chalmers Univeristy of Technology together with Volvo Cars, with the aim to investigate if pupillary measures can act as indicators of cognitive load. The aim was also to investigate what eye measures are the most reliable and/or preferable for assessing cognitive load. The research questions were what eye/pupillary measures that can be used in order to measure cognitive activity and if these pupillary measures can be indicators of whether a task is cognitively demanding or automatically performed. The aim was also to develop an experimental method where the data of pupillary measures was to be collected with an eye tracking camera. The project did not investigate other physiological measures and no naturalistic driving was performed. The main experiment included a method where participants performed a motor piano task consisting of different key pressing combinations, performed at two sessions. The task also had a sequence where math questions were induced in order to vary the mental workload. The motor task was expected to (to some extent) be automatized at the second session. The most important finding was a 10Hz peak in the frequency domain, mostly visible during the sequences where the participants were asked math questions. The results also showed that the energy content within 3.75-15Hz was higher for sequences with math questions and thus indicating a higher mental workload. It was also observed that the pupil behavior varied a lot, both within and among the individuals. No significant pattern was observed regarding pupil dilations within and among individuals when they were exposed to math questions.

Nyckelord: Cognitive control, Automatized tasks, Eye tracking, Pupillary measures, Motor piano task, Cognitive Control Hypothesis, Cognitive Load Theory

Publikationen registrerades 2018-07-04. Den ändrades senast 2018-07-04

CPL ID: 255490

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