Mental overload directly affects safety in aviation and needs to be alleviated. Speech recordings are obtained non-invasively and as such are feasible for monitoring cognitive load. We recorded speech of 13 military pilots while they were performing a simulator task. Three types of cognitive load (load on situation awareness, information processing and decision making) were rated by a flight instructor separately for each flight phase and participant. As a function of increased cognitive load, the mean utterance-level fundamental frequency (F0) increased, on average, by 7. Hz and the mean vocal intensity increased by 1. dB. In the most intensive simulator flight phases, mean F0 increased by 12. Hz and mean intensity, by 1.5. dB. At the same time, the mean F0 range decreased by 5. Hz, on average. Our results showed that prosodic features of speech can be used to monitor speaker state and support pilot training in a simulator environment. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd and The Ergonomics Society.
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