Piloting an aircraft is a complex task that places demands on several aspects of a pilot's cognitive capabilities. Because of the multifaceted nature of flying, several measures are required to identify the effects of these demands on the pilot. Several psychophysiological measures were recorded so that a wider understanding of the effects of these demands could be achieved. Heart rate, heart rate variability, eye blinks, electrodermal activity, topographically recorded electrical brain activity, and subjective estimates of mental workload were recorded. Ten pilots flew an approximately 90-min scenario containing both visual and instrument flight conditions. To determine the reliability of the psychophysiological measures, the pilots flew the same scenario twice. The responses during the 2 flights were essentially identical. Cardiac and electrodermal measures were highly correlated and exhibited changes in response to the various demands of the flights. Heart rate variability was less sensitive than heart rate. Alpha and delta bands of the brain activity showed significant changes to the varying demands of the scenarios. Blink rates decreased during the more highly visually demanding segments of the flights.
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