Human Factors

Principle investigators: Kristina Küper, Edmund Wascher
Staff: Stefan Arnau, Oliver Kobald, Melanie Karthaus
Funds: n.a.
Cooperation/Partners: Björn Rasch (Fribourg)

Human information processing does not only depend on the information that has to be processed and the cognitive capabilities of the receiver, but also on how efficient the latter are used.

Previously, we have investigated how motivation, stress, mental fatigue, or neurotropic substances alter the uptake and evaluation of signals at different processing stages. On the basis of this research, we designed and tested stress management training interventions for employees and were able to show that these trainings do not only reduce subjective stress levels but also improve cognitive functioning. The primary focus of our current research is the concept of mental fatigue (and the related concepts of motivation, vigilance, and monotony), owing to its increasing importance in the context of progressive automation in many working environments. Recently, we additionally set up a research group investigating breaks and interruptions in work flow and their impact on continuous information processing, particularly working memory.

Our human factors research combines basic and applied research approaches in order to, for instance, identify reliable electrophysiological correlates of mental fatigue and simultaneously quantify its impact on cognitive performance in different job-related scenarios (see experimental ergonomics).

Recent Publications

  • Küper, K., Rivkin, W., Diestel, S., Schmidt, K.-H., Myskovszky von Myrow, T., Przbysz, P., et al. (2015). Innovationskraft altersgemischter Belegschaften steigern – eine ganzheitliche Intervention. In S. Jeschke, A. Richert, F. Hees, C. Jooß (Eds.), Exploring Demographics. Transdisziplinäre Perspektiven zur Innovationsfähigkeit (p. 463-475). Springer.
  • Küper, K., Myskovszky von Myrow, T. & Ahlfeld, C. (2015). Innovation auf mehreren betrieblichen Ebenen steigern – Ein branchenunabhängiges Konzept für alle Altersgruppen. In T. Langhoff, M. Bornewasser, E. Heidling, B. Kriegesmann, M. Falkenstein (Eds.), Innovationskompetenz im demografischen Wandel – Konzepte und Lösungen für die unternehmerische Praxis (p. 77-90). Springer.
  • Kobald, S.O., Wascher, E., Blaszkewicz, M., Golka, K. & van Thriel, C. (2015). Neurobehavioral and neurophysiological effects after acute exposure to a single peak of 200 ppm toluene in healthy volunteers. Neurotoxicology 48, 50-59.
  • Möckel, T., Beste, C. & Wascher, E. (2015). The effects of time on task in response selection – an ERP study of mental fatigue. Sci Rep 5, 10113.
  • Sänger, J., Bechtold, L., Schoofs, D., Blaszkewicz, M. & Wascher, E. (2014). The influence of acute stress on attention mechanisms and its electrophysiological correlates. Front Behav Neurosci 8, 353.
  • Wascher, E. & Getzmann, S. (2014). Rapid mental fatigue amplifies age-related attentional deficits. Journal of Psychophysiology 28, 215–224.
  • Wascher, E., Rasch, B., Sänger, J., Hoffmann, S., Schneider, D., Rinkenauer, G., et al. (2014). Frontal theta activity reflects distinct aspects of mental fatigue. Biological Psychology 96, 57–65.
  • Labrenz, F., Themann, M., Wascher, E., & Beste, C. (2012). Neural Correlates of Individual Performance Differences in Resolving Perceptual Conflict. PLoS ONE 7.