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Boredom and vigilance problems can be exacerbated by systems with high levels of automation, which leave human operators unengaged for prolonged periods.

As computing systems become increasingly capable and autonomous, the role and expectations of the operator in the system change and the operator no longer needs to directly control all low-level aspects of the system. On the one hand, these advancements could allow operators to work at a higher level and simultaneously supervise numerous tasks. On the other hand, the high levels of autonomy can also lead to long duration, low workload situations, where little is required of the supervisor, resulting in operator boredom and disengagement that can be detrimental when the operator is later called upon to perform a task. Our work investigates physiological sensing of attention states as well as intervention design to counter some of the detrimental aspects of boredom in human-computer interaction.
Related Publications
  • M. Boyer, M.L. Cummings, L.B. Spence, E.T. Solovey. "Investigating Mental Workload Changes in a Long Duration Supervisory Control Task," Interacting With Computers (2015). [link]
  • A. Mkrtchyan, J. Macbeth, E.T. Solovey, J. Ryan, M. Cummings. “Using Variable-Rate Alerting to Counter Boredom in Human Supervisory Control,” Proc. Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting, 2012. [link]
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