Assessing real-time cognitive load based on psycho-physiological measures for younger and older adults
November 7, 2014
We are increasingly in situations of divided attention, subject to interruptions, and having to deal with an abundance of information. Our cognitive load changes in these situations of divided attention, task interruption or multitasking; this is particularly true for older adults. To help mediate our finite attention resources in performing cognitive tasks, we have to be able to measure the real-time changes in the cognitive load of individuals. This paper investigates how to assess real-time cognitive load based on psycho-physiological measurements. We use two different cognitive tasks that test perceptual speed and visio-spatial cognitive processing capabilities, and build accurate models that differentiate an individual’s cognitive load (low and high) for both young and older adults. Our models perform well in assessing load every second with two different time windows: 10 seconds and 60 seconds, although less accurately for older participants. Our results show that it is possible to build a real- time assessment method for cognitive load. Based on these results, we discuss how to integrate such models into deployable systems that mediate attention effectively.
Ferreira, E., Ferreira, D., Kim, S., Siirtola, P., Roning, J., Forlizzi, J.F., Dey, A.K.: Assessing real-time cognitive load based on psycho-physiological measures for younger and older adults, SSCI’14, Orlando, US, 2014.