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PhD ceremony Ms. A. Widyanti: Cultural influences on the measurement of mental workload

When:Th 30-05-2013 at 11:00

PhD ceremony: Ms. A. Widyanti, 11.00 uur, Academiegebouw, Broerstraat 5, Groningen

Dissertation: Cultural influences on the measurement of mental workload

Promotor(s): prof. A. Johnson

Faculty: Behavioural and Social Sciences

Cultural differences must be taken into account when mental workload measures that have been developed in Western countries are implemented in non-Western countries as these cultural differences might affect the use and sensitivity of the measures. The importance of taking culture into account when adapting measures of subjective mental workload was underlined by Hart (2006). However, to date, no studies have been conducted to directly observe how culture may influence mental workload measure. This thesis makes an initial step in adapting measures of mental workload and in observing cultural differences in mental workload measures. The studies in this thesis show that culture plays an important role in subjective and physiological measures of mental workload and thus further strengthen Nachreiner’s (1999) suggestion that cross-cultural adaptation is needed before mental workload measures can be applied in non-Western countries.

The studies reported in this thesis show restrictions on the sensitivity of subjective mental workload instruments in Indonesia due to cultural factors. However, it seems that subjective measures have been and will be the prominent technique for assessing mental workload in Indonesia. It should be highlighted that adaptation of the instruments is crucial. For continuing use of subjective mental workload measures in Indonesia, problems of insensitivity of the subjective mental workload measures should be overcome, for example by minimizing the effect of power distance by omitting labels indicating identity of participants.

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