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Cognitive and task performance studies

A picture of a skeleton with a glowing brain, indicating head pain.

DST is carrying out research on the effect of performance shaping factors such as fatigue and boredom on cognitive and task performance and the efficacy of real team fatigue detection technologies.

The most recent studies investigated the efficacy of a drowsiness monitoring system in a peacetime vehicle-use scenario.

In 2012, two studies were undertaken. The first was a field study that examined the effects of real-time drowsiness feedback on driver fatigue and performance in an Army Reserve unit. Fifteen personnel were monitored continuously while driving using the drowsiness monitoring system. The provision of real-time feedback from the system resulted in reduced drowsiness and improved self-assessed driving performance ratings. A follow-on laboratory study involving fourteen participants was then undertaken to further investigate driver fatigue and performance on a boring driving task. As predicted, the monitoring system appears to have provided medium or high drowsiness scores that corresponded to decrements in driving performance, measured in terms of lane keeping skills.

Additional data has since been collected as part of a vehicle test and evaluation activity in January 2013, as well as a vehicle convoy study undertaken in collaboration with the New Zealand Defence Technology Agency. Plans are also underway for DSTO to undertake a collaborative study with the University of South Australia and the United States Walter Reed Army Institute for Research to examine the impact of sustained vehicle operations, looking at the effects of sleep deprivation on cognitive and task performance.

Key information

  • Cognition and Performance
  • Human Fatigue
  • Human Performance