Document Type

Conference Paper


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence


Computer Sciences, *human – machine relations


In the last few decades several fields have made use of the construct of human mental workload (MWL) for system and task design as well as for assessing human performance. Despite this interest, MWL remains a nebulous concept with multiple definitions and measurement techniques. State-of-the-art models of MWL are usually ad-hoc, considering different pools of pieces of evidence aggregated with different inference strategies. In this paper the aim is to deploy a rule-based expert system as a more structured approach to model and infer MWL. This expert system is built upon a knowledge-base of an expert and transates into computable rules. Different heuristics for aggregating these rules are proposed and they are elicited using inputs gathered in an user study involving humans performing web-based tasks. The inferential capacity of the expert system, using the proposed heuristics, is compared against the one of two ad-hoc models, commonly used in psychology: the NASA-Task Load Index and the Workload Profile assessment technique. In detail, the inferential capacity is assessed by a quantification of two properties commonly used in psychological measurement: sensitivity and validity. Results show how some of the designed heuristics can over perform the baseline instruments suggesting that MWL modelling using expert system is a promising avenue worthy of further investigation.



Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico