Engineering Psychophysiology: Issues and Applications

By Richard W. Backs; Wolfram Boucsein | Go to book overview

Chapter 14
The Use of Psychophysiology for Evaluating Stress-Strain Processes in Human-Computer Interaction

Wolfram Boucsein University of Wuppertal, Germany

During the 1960s, when visual display terminals (VDTs) came widely into use, computers were predominantly tools for data input and coding tasks. During this time, the use of psychophysiological recordings was restricted to examining factors directly affecting physiology, such as body position during work. Early reviews of adverse effects of computerization by Grandjean ( 1980) and by Sauter Gottlieb, Jones Dodson, and Rohrer ( 1983) mentioned a decrease in critical fusion frequency (CFF) together with complaints about eye strain as well as about neck, shoulder, and arm pain in VDT workers. Although recommendations and checklists have been available since the 1980s to ensure ergonomic setup of VDT workplaces (e.g., Grandjean, 1987; Grandjean & Vigliani, 1980), typical complaints are still an issue in VDT work. Besides physiological measures such as critical flicker frequency that require an interruption of the ongoing task, unobtrusive measures, such as electrooculographic (EOG) and electromyographic (EMG) activity or even pupil size, have been widely used to determine ergonomic features of the VDT system (e.g., Åborg, Fernström, & Ericson, 1995; Taptagaporn & Saito, 1990; Yamamoto & Kuto, 1992).

The most dramatic changes, both in the nature of tasks and in the organization of work, emerged from the shift from the physical workplace that has desk tops, filing cabinets, drawing boards, and so on, to the virtual workplace that has everything in a single computer. This enables the operator to perform a wide variety of tasks, and even to communicate, without leaving his or her workplace. Instead of using computers as a mere tool, human--computer interaction

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