The negative effects of cognitive workload and fatigue on performance have been difficult to separate historically because they can both occur simultaneously, even though they might have different underlying dynamics. To complicate matters, coping, automaticity, practice, and fatigue recovery have positive effects on performance over time simultaneously with increasing load and fatigue. Since 2009, our lab has studied the use of two mathematical models (cusp catastrophes), which when combined with a sufficiently complex experimental design can separate these two effects. The two processes have the same temporal dynamic structure but different contributing variables.The studies conducted to date have focused on memory functions, multitasking, vigilance, financial decisions and risk taking, although not all at the same time! For some further description of the mathematical models and their impact, please see a very brief article that appeared in the January 2014 issue of American Psychologist, “Vigilance phenomena, cognitive workload and fatigue” (vol. 69, pp. 85-87). You can reach AP and other articles cited through the Raynor Library’s subscriptions to those journals.
E-mail Dr. Stephen Guastello to get more information about his research and the position.