Energetic Arousal Analysis

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From a physiological perspective, arousal is the level of central nervous system activation or excitation along a continuum of behavioural states (Razmjou, 1996, as cited in Dunn, 2011). These states can range from a deep sleep to a state of alarm (Grandjean, 1979, as cited in Dunn, 2011). Low workload situations are likely to be related to physiological states associated with drowsiness, weariness, or when the individual is hardly awake, relaxed or resting (Dunn, 2011). Theories of arousal also take into account the self-reported experiential feelings of the individual. Thayer (1978, as cited in Dunn, 2011) separated arousal into two phenomenological dimensions; ‘energetic arousal’ and ‘tense arousal’. Energetic arousal is associated with…show more content…
McBain’s (1970) distinction between objective monotony and subjective monotony is adopted by Dunn. Objective monotony encompasses the objective conditions of a particular task, such as repetition and the predictability of the tasks and is defined as an ‘objective task-related characteristic of an environment that is unchanging or that changes in a repetitive and predictable way’. Subjective monotony is the subjective appraisal of a particular task or tasks and is usually consciously manifested and experienced as boredom. The distinction is important as monotonous tasks are not always a direct antecedent of boredom and boredom states can arise from non-monotonous…show more content…
However, the scope of this project was to focus on the task-related factors associated with low workload therefore these other factors are only briefly discussed below.
The individual factors associated with low workload include sleep-related fatigue and circadian rhythms. Broadly speaking, lack of sleep enhances the effects of low workload situations as it can reduce arousal levels. Williamson, Lombardi, Folkard, Stutts, Courtney and Connor (2011) conducted a review on fatigue and performance and defined sleep-related fatigue as fatigue caused by a ‘reduction in the quantity or quality of sleep, or extension of the time awake since sleep’ and this produces ‘a homeostatic drive to sleep’, which is often experienced as sleepiness.
Circadian rhythms are the 24 hour sleep-awake cycle that humans experience. Circadian rhythms have been well-documented to be linked with states of arousal and alertness (Dunn, 2011). Williamson et al (2011) concluded circadian rhythms are linked to safety outcomes. As with fatigue, the direct effects of circadian rhythms are difficult to empirically observe as they interact with other factors such as time since waking, rest breaks or lighting

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