Document Type

Conference Paper


This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only


Computer Sciences, *human – machine relations

Publication Details

Volume 475 of the series IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology pp 215-229

Title of the book: Artificial Intelligence Applications and Innovations

Volume Editors: Lazaros Iliadis, Ilias Maglogiannis

Book Subtitle: 12th IFIP WG 12.5 International Conference and Workshops, AIAI 2016, Thessaloniki, Greece, September 16-18, 2016, Proceedings

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

Copyright Holder: IFIP International Federation for Information Processing


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.