Detecting cognitive hacking in visual inspection with physiological measurements

Appl Ergon. 2020 Apr:84:103022. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2019.103022. Epub 2020 Jan 10.


Cyber threats are targeting vulnerabilities of human workers performing tasks in manufacturing processes, including visual inspection to bias their decision-making, thereby sabotaging product quality. This article examines the use of priming as a form of "cognitive hacking" to adversely affect quality inspection decisions in manufacturing, and investigates physiological measurements as means to detect such intrusion. In a within-subject design experiment, twenty participants inspected surface roughness of a manufactured component with and without exposure to priming on the display of an inspection logging system. The results show that the presence of primes impacted accuracy on surface roughness, cortical activities at parietal lobe P4, and eye gaze for inspecting components. The experiment provides supporting evidence that basic hacking of a worker display can be an effective method to alter decision making in inspection. The findings also illustrate that cortical activities and eye gaze can be useful indicators of cognitive hacking. A major implication of the study results is that physiological indicators can be effective at revealing unconscious cognitive influence in visual inspection.

Keywords: Additive manufacturing; Cognitive hacking; Cybersecurity; EEG; Eye-tracking; Inspection.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Decision Making / physiology*
  • Electroencephalography
  • Eye Movements / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manufactured Materials*
  • Quality Control*
  • Surface Properties
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Visual Perception / physiology*