Human cognitive performance: a neurophysiological assessment of the impact that reverse assessment priming has on mental workload, performance and cognitive efficiency during transient information processing

Hutchings Mangion, Kylie L. (2017) Human cognitive performance: a neurophysiological assessment of the impact that reverse assessment priming has on mental workload, performance and cognitive efficiency during transient information processing. [Thesis (PhD/Research)]

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This study assessed cognitive efficiency (CE) during transient information processing by capturing the neural activity experienced during the completion of varying levels of cognitive processing. The study researched the impact of low versus high cognitive demand on transient information and the effect that reverse assessment priming has on overall neural activity, and the correlations of mental workload (MWL) with performance and with CE. In total, 13 university students and staff members from the University of Southern Queensland participated in both low and high cognitive demand level experiments. Experiment 1 consisted of a low level transient information processing task and Experiment 2 involved a high level transient information task.

All participants completed both control intervals and test intervals for both experiments. Test intervals included the provision of a reverse assessment priming strategy prior to the presentation of the Transient Information Processing Task (TIPT) stimuli. All students were asked to complete a handiness, demographic, general health and prior knowledge questionnaire to enable consistency across the experimental groups. Students were matched and presented with a TIPT whereby they were deemed to have no or very minimal prior exposure to and knowledge of the topic.

The TIPTs presented were either two minutes or four minutes in duration and were in auditory format. Topics were made up of an even mix of animals and countries. The study aimed to analyze the CE further; this was achieved by the students completing a written multiple choice assessment immediately following each TIPT. Results highlighted the extent to which working memory capacity depletes as the complexity of transient information increases. Whilst the assessment results demonstrated the students’ working memory ability to process transient information, the procedure is difficult by nature owing to the inability of information to be decoded, processed and encoded without an opportunity to review and transfer it into a more permanent state or to link it to previous schematic networks.

Results emphasised the impact and benefit of using the reverse assessment priming strategy in reducing the cognitive demand placed on an individual by the MWL experienced so that human performance scores were augmented along with an increase in CE during transient information processing.

This study provides objective evidence that the MWL from a neurophysiological measure differs between a low cognitive demanding TIPT and a high cognitive demanding TIPT in both settings where subjects completed the low and high TIPT (control) tasks and the low and high TIPT reverse assessment processing stimuli (RAPS) (test) tasks. This enables an insight into the degree to which brain activity responds to a change in stimuli and, in particular, transient information whereby the individual is unable to make a more permanent record or has control over the speed or mode in which the information is presented in order to process the incoming information within working memory. The duration of each stimulus was what differentiated the low cognitive demanding task and the high cognitive demanding task; therefore results indicate that the longer that an individual attempts to process continually presented transient information, the more MWL increases. The neural activity increased in 91% of subjects between the low and high TIPT (control) tasks and 75% of subjects between the low and high RAPS (test) tasks.

Results indicated that the use of RAPS has a minimal impact on the MWL imposed during a low cognitive demanding TIPT. However, the use of RAPS can prove to be an effective strategy in reducing the MWL experienced during a high cognitive demanding TIPT. RAPS had a minimal effect on the low cognitive demanding tasks, although as the level of the task complexity increased so too did the positive impact of using RAPS. It has been established that the use of RAPS is an effective strategy to reduce MLW during a TIPT; in this study it resulted in a decrease of up to 34.64% in MWL.

The results of this study indicated that the use of RAPS resulted in a positive impact on the performance results achieved across both low and high level TIPTs in all possible situations. The study outcomes demonstrated that in 100% of subjects an increase was achieved in the human performance between the low TIPT (control) and low TIPT RAPS (test) tasks, recording an increase of up to 40% in performance scores achieved. Similarly, during the high TIPT (control) and high TIPT RAPS (test) intervals, wherever an increase was possible, 100% of situations experienced an increase in performance scores of up to 80%.

The findings demonstrated that the use of RAPS had a positive impact on, and promoted an increase in, the CE that can be achieved during a TIPT. This discovery plays an important role in the overall wellbeing of human capital; the emphasis placed on human performance should no longer be at an individual’s expense. Human performance practices can utilise these findings to allow a balanced metric and enable a change in mind set from an outdated human performance paradigm to a truly human centered approach that considers the person’s cognitive capacity. CE has been increased as a result of using RAPS, demonstrating an 8% increase in subjects achieving an above average >0 CE score between the control and test intervals. This result supported the argument that RAPS had a positive impact on the overall CE achieved during a TIPT.

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Item Type: Thesis (PhD/Research)
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Doctor of Education (EdD) thesis.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Management and Enterprise
Supervisors: Gururajan, Raj
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2017 23:13
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2018 02:09
Uncontrolled Keywords: cognitive efficiency; reverse assessment priming
Fields of Research : 13 Education > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified

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