Engineering Psychophysiology: Issues and Applications

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

maladaptive patterns are associated with the disruption of the homeostasis, inefficient functioning, and negative health effects. Research efforts should concentrate on the emotional and physiological mechanisms that mediate cognitive processes and bodily reactions and the discovery of the underlying mechanisms of overreactivity, recovery, and accumulation of stress effects over time and between stressors.


CONCLUDING REMARKS

Psychophysiological techniques provide an interesting approach toward the assessment of the functioning of employees in their working conditions. With the aid of ambulatory methods (see chap. 5, this volume), the reactions of employees may be observed and recorded, either during their daily activities or in a simulated environment. Given the small and user-friendly apparatus now available, psychophysiological techniques are nonintrusive and likely to be accepted by the employees being investigated. Psychophysiological techniques have ecological validity because they interfere minimally with the ongoing activities of the employee. In addition, measures may be obtained before and after a working day or in pauses between work periods. This enables the possibility of assessing the recovery from workload, which is a major determinant of stress reactions. As illustrated in the framework presented in Table 2.1, the approach should be integrative. Physiological measures should be related to other dependent measures, such as subjective ratings, performance indices and observations, and, if possible, long-term outcomes, such as absenteeism, employee incapacity, turnover, and so on. For the interpretation of the results in terms of psychological processes, it is essential that the effects of work demands on psychophysiological measures be compared with the effects on other measures. The sort of measures that should be involved depend on the aims of the study and the type of approach (see also the section on three types of energy mobilization). In this way psychophysiological techniques provide useful tools to solve a variety of problems that may be encountered in the work environment.


REFERENCES

Allport A. ( 1987). "Selection for action: Some behavioral and neurophysiological considerations of attention and action". In H. Heuer & A. Sanders (Eds.), Perspectives on perception and action (pp. 395-419). Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Andreassi J. L. ( 1995). Psychophysiology: Human behavior and physiological response ( 3rd ed.) Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Backs R. W. ( 1998). "A comparison of factor analytic methods of obtaining cardiovascular autonomic components for the assessment of mental workload". Ergonomics, 41, 733-745.

Berntson G. G., Cacioppo J. T, Quigley K. S. ( 1993). "Cardiac psychophysiology and autonomic space in humans: empirical perspectives and conceptual implications". Psychological Bulletin, 114, 296-322.

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