Driving monotonous routes in a train simulator: the effect of task demand on driving performance and subjective experience

Monotony's occurrence and effects remain not well understood, even though it is widely recognised as being detrimental to performance and despite the fact that task-related characteristics, such as monotony and low task demand, have been shown to contribute to performance decrements over time. One of two simulated train-driving scenarios were completed by participants. The scenarios differed only in terms of the level of cognitive demand required (i.e., low or high demand), but both were highly monotonous. The seriously detrimental effects of the combination of monotony and low task demands are highlighted by these results and clearly show that even a relatively minor increase in cognitive demand can mitigate adverse monotony-related effects on performance for extended periods of time. Monotony is an inherent characteristic of transport industries, including rail, aviation and road transport, which can have adverse impact on safety, reliability and efficiency. Highlighted by this study are possible strategies for mitigating these adverse effects. Relevant information for practitioners is as follows: Evidence is provided by this study for the importance of cognitive demand in mitigating monotony-related effects on performance. Clear implications are shown by the results for the rapid onset of performance deterioration in low demand monotonous tasks and it is demonstrated that simple solutions, such as making the task more cognitively engaged, can overcome these detrimental performance effects.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 997-1008
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01447830
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Oct 1 2012 9:20AM