Publication

The Role of Motivation as a Factor in Mental Fatigue

Herlambang, M., Taatgen, N. & Cnossen, F., Nov-2019, In : Human Factors. 61, 7, p. 1171-1185 15 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Objective:
The aim of this study was to assess motivation as a factor in mental fatigue using subjective, performance, and physiological measures.

Background:
Sustained performance on a mentally demanding task can decrease over time. This decrement has two possible causes: a decline in available resources, meaning that performance cannot be sustained, and decrement in motivation, meaning a decline in willingness to sustain performance. However, so far, few experimental paradigms have effectively and continuously manipulated motivation, which is essential to understand its effect on mental fatigue.

Method:
Twenty participants performed a working memory task with 14 blocks, which alternated between reward and nonreward for 2.5 hr. In the reward blocks, monetary rewards could be gained for good performance. Besides reaction time and accuracy, we used physiological measures (heart rate variability, pupil diameter, eyeblink, eye movements with a video distractor) and subjective measures of fatigue and mental effort.

Results:
Participants reported becoming fatigued over time and invested more mental effort in the reward blocks. Even though they reported fatigue, their accuracy in the reward blocks remained constant but declined in the nonreward blocks. Furthermore, in the nonreward blocks, participants became more distractable, invested less cognitive effort, blinked more often, and made fewer saccades. These results showed an effect of motivation on mental fatigue.

Conclusion:
The evidence suggests that motivation is an important factor in explaining the effects of mental fatigue.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1171-1185
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Factors
Volume61
Issue number7
Early online date28-Feb-2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2019

    Keywords

  • HEART-RATE-VARIABILITY, TASK, INTERRUPTIONS, PERFORMANCE, WORK, REST, LOAD

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