Using Pupillometry to Indicate the Cognitive Redline Conference Paper uri icon


  • Copyright 2016 by Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Physiological measures, which are influenced by the arousal of the autonomous nervous system, have been studied as indicators of extreme levels of mental workload that approach or exceed the cognitive "redline", the point at which task demand exceeds the supply of cognitive resources. In response to increasing task demands, measures such as heart rate variability show asymptotic patterns in arousal that are consistent with plateau patterns in subjective self-reported measures. This suggests potential to use physiological indicators in real time to predict when an operator is at increased risk of cognitive overload. Expanding on prior work, the current study examined pupil diameter as a new potential indicator of the cognitive redline in a multitask environment created with the Multi-Attribute Task Battery-II (MATB-II). Results showed that pupil diameter is sensitive to imposed mental workload and exhibits a similar asymptotic pattern that may provide another potential real-time indicator of the cognitive redline.

author list (cited authors)

  • Rodriguez-Paras, C., Yang, S., & Ferris, T. K.

citation count

  • 0

publication date

  • September 2016