Biocybernetic system evaluates indices of operator engagement in automated task

Biol Psychol. 1995 May;40(1-2):187-95. doi: 10.1016/0301-0511(95)05116-3.


A biocybernetic system has been developed as a method to evaluate automated flight deck concepts for compatibility with human capabilities. A biocybernetic loop is formed by adjusting the mode of operation of a task set (e.g., manual/automated mix) based on electroencephalographic (EEG) signals reflecting an operator's engagement in the task set. A critical issue for the loop operation is the selection of features of the EEG to provide an index of engagement upon which to base decisions to adjust task mode. Subjects were run in the closed-loop feedback configuration under four candidate and three experimental control definitions of an engagement index. The temporal patterning of system mode switching was observed for both positive and negative feedback of the index. The indices were judged on the basis of their relative strength in exhibiting expected feedback control system phenomena (stable operation under negative feedback and unstable operation under positive feedback). Of the candidate indices evaluated in this study, an index constructed according to the formula, beta power/(alpha power + theta power), reflected task engagement best.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alpha Rhythm
  • Arousal / physiology*
  • Attention / physiology*
  • Beta Rhythm
  • Brain Mapping / instrumentation
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Cybernetics / instrumentation*
  • Electroencephalography / instrumentation*
  • Feedback / physiology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Workload