Authors: Orlando Ricciardi; Piero Maggi; Francesco Di Nocera
Addresses: Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Via dei Marsi, 78, 00185 Rome, Italy ' Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Via dei Marsi, 78, 00185 Rome, Italy ' Department of Psychology, Sapienza University of Rome, Via dei Marsi, 78, 00185 Rome, Italy
Abstract: Vigilance decrement is a relevant problem in critical contexts requiring occasional response after a prolonged period of inactivity. Although many studies describe boredom as the leading cause in depleting attentional resources, the understanding of its relationship with human performance has been limited by the unavailability of objective measures. This study attempts to overcome this limitation by focusing on fidgeting (namely, repetitive and involuntary body movements) as a behavioural correlate of boredom. A laboratory study was devised for comparing the individuals' performance to two versions of the same task characterised by two boredom levels. Movements were detected using accelerometers controlled by an Arduino board. Results showed that participants fidgeted more in the condition operationalised as less boring than in the more boring one. Result of this study are interpreted as supporting the idea that an increase in fidgeting may have a functional role, and that it might be used by individuals for introducing variability where it lacks. Overall, fidgeting appears to be promising candidate measure for that could be used in many operational settings for the assessment of the operator functional state.
Keywords: boredom; monotony; mental workload; fidgeting; human performance; typing.
International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2019 Vol.6 No.3, pp.195 - 207
Received: 13 Mar 2019
Accepted: 04 Jul 2019
Published online: 21 Jan 2020 *