Stress, Workload, and Fatigue

Stress, Workload, and Fatigue

Stress, Workload, and Fatigue

Stress, Workload, and Fatigue

Synopsis

The purpose of this volume is to seek out, describe, and explain the shared commonalities of stress, fatigue, and workload. To understand and predict human performance response, we have to reach beyond the sterile, information-processing models to incorporate the emotive, affective, or more generally, energetic aspects of cognition. These facets of behavior surface most readily when the individual acts under stress, is faced by significant cognitive workload, or is in the grip of fatigue. However, energetic characteristics are pervasive and exert a vital and ubiquitous influence, even when they are not obviously in play as in extreme circumstances. Indeed, one cannot hope to understand behavior without their inclusion and integration into models and theories. This text addresses such theoretical questions as one of its main thrusts. However, in addition to the drive for scientific understanding, there are requirements in our progressively more utilitarian society which generate the need for a more fundamental understanding of this particular topic.

Excerpt

The study of stress has a long and respected tradition in psychology, emanating from some of the earliest work on learning under states of compulsion. Chronic stress has also long been recognized as a precursor to illness and debilitation. Of similar vintage, fatigue has been a featured issue in industrial research since the turn of the century and the British Industrial Fatigue Research Board provided early insights which proved seminal with respect to disciplines such as occupational medicine, industrial hygiene and systems safety. In contrast, mental workload is a relatively new proposition growing out of the concerns of aviation psychologists faced with ever more loaded and taxed pilots in high-performance aircraft. A related cousin from aviation is the contemporary concern for situational awareness, a further face of performance capability now being applied in multiple contexts. Despite these divergent histories and backgrounds, it is our claim that each of these concepts, and indeed several others, share a commonalty as reflections of the energetic state of the individual involved. It is one of the major purposes of the present volume to seek out, describe, and explain these shared commonalties. To accomplish this aim, we have solicited contributions from many leading voices in these respective domains to provide insights concerning the present state-of-the-art in theory, research, and practice. We also wished to hear from outstanding theorists, researchers and practitioners whose depth of understanding allowed them to present overview commentaries on the respective areas of stress, workload and fatigue. Finally, we solicited a limited number of works which point explicitly to the potential and actual linkages across these three areas of energetic representation.

To understand and predict human performance response, we have to reach beyond the sterile, mathematical formulations of the traditional information-processing models to incorporate the emotive, affective, or more generally, the energetic aspects of cognition. These facets of response surface most readily and exert their greatest influence when the individual acts under stress, is faced by significant cognitive workload, or while in the grip of fatigue. However, energetic characteristics are pervasive and exert their vital and ubiquitous influence, even when they are not obviously in play as in the extreme circumstances noted. Indeed, one cannot hope to understand behavior without their inclusion and integration into models and theories. The . . .

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