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Peripheral arterial tone as an on-line measure of load in a simulated flight task

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Variations in continuous and discrete flight demands were investigated in a simulated flight mission measuring peripheral arterial tone (PAT) from the tip of the finger. A total of 12 participants performed a computer-simulated agricultural flight task. They were required to fly over a specific lane of a simulated corn field (continuous task) and change lanes in response to flags, which appeared at varying intervals (discrete task). The difficulty of the flight task was manipulated by varying the airplane control (single- vs. dual-axis control), while the difficulty of the discrete task was manipulated by varying the amount of lateral change signalled by the flag. PAT amplitude was lower in the difficult level of the continuous task and was further attenuated following the appearance of the flag only when a change in the flight position was required. These results suggest the potential utility of PAT as an on-line measure of the joint continuous and discrete demands of a flight mission.
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Keywords: Continuous load; Discrete load; Peripheral arterial tone; Simulated flight

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2007

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