Observer performance in estimating upper arm elevation angles under ideal viewing conditions when assisted by posture matching software

Appl Ergon. 2016 Jul;55:208-215. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2016.01.012. Epub 2016 Mar 8.


Selecting a suitable body posture measurement method requires performance indices of candidate tools. Such data are lacking for observational assessments made at a high degree of resolution. The aim of this study was to determine the performance (bias and between- and within-observer variance) of novice observers estimating upper arm elevation postures assisted by posture matching software to the nearest degree from still images taken under ideal conditions. Estimates were minimally biased from true angles: the mean error across observers was less than 2°. Variance between observers was minimal. Considerable variance within observers, however, underlined the risk of relying on single observations. Observers were more proficient at estimating 0° and 90° postures, and less proficient at 60°. Thus, under ideal visual conditions observers, on average, proved proficient at high resolution posture estimates; further investigation is required to determine how non-optimal image conditions, as would be expected from occupational data, impact proficiency.

Keywords: Measurement error; Observation; Working postures.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arm / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Enhancement / methods*
  • Male
  • Observer Variation
  • Posture*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Visual Perception*