Engineering Psychophysiology: Issues and Applications

By Richard W. Backs; Wolfram Boucsein | Go to book overview
In conclusion, computer-assisted ambulatory assessment in applied environments is a newly emerging methodology. Progress is apparent not only in instrumentation but in assessment strategies. Ambulatory assessment, like any other method, has problematic aspects; a particular concern is how to account for multiple effects in the recordings. However, the benefits are evident:
Recording of relevant data in natural settings;
Real-time measurement of variations in workload and task demands, performance, and behavioral and physiological changes;
Interactive real-time assessment by automatically prompting the subject to respond to questions or instructions;
Real-time assessment and feedback by reporting physiological changes to the subject either with or without information as to which changes actually occur;
Concurrent assessment of variations in workload and task demands, performance, and psychological and physiological changes (events, episodes);
Correlation and contingency (symptom-context) analysis across systemic levels, as suggested in triple-response models (multimodal assessment);
Ecological validity of findings and suitability for direct application.

The benefits of ambulatory monitoring for diagnosis and management of cardiovascular diseases, and of more recent applications, for example, polysomnograms and recordings of sleep apnea, are beyond doubt. Substantial findings were also obtained by computer-assisted ambulatory assessment in applied environments. Some of the findings substantiate theories and evaluations that rely on laboratory observations. It is evident, however, that other research findings challenge previously held views. Ambulatory assessment has also been especially fruitful in generating new research questions addressing, for example, the issue of behavior consistency or the discrepancies (response fractionation) between subjectively reported workload and actual measurements of objective workload and physiological change. Thus, research findings in relevant fields support further development and application of ambulatory assessment methodology. It may be expected that as ambulatory methodologies continue to improve, research will leave the laboratory to be performed in the field.


REFERENCES

Amlaner C. J., & Macdonald P. W. (Eds.). ( 1980). A handbook of biotelemetry and radio tracking. Oxford, England: Pergamon.

Berntson G. G., Bigger J. T, Eckberg D. L., Grossman P, Kaufmann P. G., Malik M., Nagaraja H. N., Porges S. W., Saul J. P., Stone P. H., & van der M. W. Molen ( 1997). "Heart rate variability: Origins, methods, and interpretive caveats". Psychophysiology, 34, 623-648.

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