Internal factors such as motivation, fatigue,or emotions can massively change people’s information processing. Important signals can be overlooked and interfering stimuli can no longer be efficiently filtered out if the readiness or the possibilities to process information are impaired by internal states.
In the past, the positive influence of motivation,but also the negative influence of neurotoxic substances or stress on basal stimulus processing mechanisms could be demonstrated. The loss of cognitive ability in long-lasting mental tasks, also refered to asmental fatigue, is closely related to the construct of motivation. Mental fatigue is considered to be a significant risk factor for accidents in manyautomatedwork areas and is therefore being intensively studied by the Department of Ergonomics. Currently, our researchfocuses on the impact of breaks and interruptions on information processing and the maintenance of cognitive performance.
The research strategy covers both fundamental questions,such as the search for reliable correlates of mental fatigue in the EEG,as well as application-related fatigue investigations in specific situations,such as driving vehicles, office situations,or workplaces in the field of logistics (see Experimental Ergonomics).
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