Investigation of information processing and cognitive performance capacities with different instrumentation configurations
The focus of this thesis is the investigation of two new performance capacity tests related to a concept known as “situational awareness”: (1) Visual Motor Multitask Performance Capacity (VMMPC) and (2) Visual Auditory Information Processing Dexterity (VAIPD). These represent major components of human information processing and are therefore important in situations ranging from driving and other activities of daily living to occupational and sport tasks. These tests have been recently designed and implemented on a laboratory-based instrument called the BEP I. In the present project, they are implemented on a different, more portable platform that is under development and known as the Human Performance Multimeter (HPMM). Both lab-based and HPMM implementations of the tests were evaluated for reliability and evidence of validity in an experiment involving twenty healthy adult volunteers (10 males, 21 to 60 years, mean—28.6 years; 10 females, 22 to 27 years, mean—23.9 years). A test-retest paradigm was used. Good test-retest reliability (repeatability) was obtained for both implementations (r > 0.70) for most measures and VAIPD reliability generally better than VMMPC reliability. Performance capacity values obtained from the HPMM were found to be comparable to those obtained with the BEP I. VAIPD measures did not correlate with VMMPC results, suggesting that each test measures a different capacity. It is concluded that the current test designs are fundamentally sound and that these tests hold promise for efficient characterization of important performance capacities that may eventually impact neurology, physical therapy, rehabilitation, vocational, and other domains where human information processing is of interest.