A study of the relation between air traffic controllers' emotion and their workload
Date of Issue2017
School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Air traffic density has been increasing and will continue to increase rapidly in the near future. This is mainly due to the reduction in cost of flying and technological advancements. Air Traffic Controllers (ATCOs) who are responsible for orderly and safe traffic, have a huge part to play in this advancement. The increase in air traffic density and the Air Traffic Control (ATC) system changes would likely to impose higher mental workload and stress on the ATCOs. While workload and stress constructs have been well researched in the context of ATC, the emotion aspect of ATCOs has received a lack of attention. Stress is a human state which can be caused by many factors while emotion is a short cognizant experience portrayed by strong mental activity. Emotion also plays an enormous part in the cognitive decision making process, and it deserves equal importance as compared to workload and stress. Thus, it needs to be extensively studied and researched. Therefore, this study aims to investigate workload, emotion, and stress of ATCOs through physiological (Electroencephalogram (EEG)) and subjective approaches (NASA TLX and Workload and Emotion Self-Assessment Manikin (SAM)). A mathematical model to link stress level with physiological workload and emotion was then formulated. From the results, it was observed that for the Approach study, high-stress level correlates weakly with negative EEG emotion while for the en-route study, high-stress level correlates strongly with negative EEG Emotion, and high frustration level correlates weakly with high workload for both studies. Furthermore, negative emotion correlates weakly with high workload for the approach study while the negative emotion correlates very strongly with high workload for the en-route study. Finally, from the mathematical model the relationship between emotion and workload highly depended on the nature of the task (approach or en-route), as emotion played a larger role in determining the stress level in the en-route study, and workload played a greater role in determining the stress level in the approach study.
Final Year Project (FYP)
Nanyang Technological University