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A multi-factorial analysis of human performance during a 9-day sea trial

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Author: Valk, P.J.L. · Grech, M.R. · Bos, J.E.
Institution: TNO Defensie en Veiligheid
Source:HPAS 2010 International Conference On Human Performance at Sea 16-18 June 2010, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
Identifier: 409733
Keywords: Performance · Ship motion · Sea sickness · Dynamic vision · Cognitive performance · Sleep


A multi-national sea trial on the effects of ship motions on human performance was performed on Canadian Forces Auxiliary Vessel Quest, off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada, in February and March of 2007. The primary goal of these experiments was to obtain subjective and objective measures for human task performance, possibly affected by real ship motion. Based on the measurements from 12 subjects collected during 9 days at sea, a data base was constructed that was used for this research. Four types of variables were categorized; independent (e.g. ship motion), intermediate (alertness, sleep, fatigue), subjective task performance (cognitive, physical, workload), and objective task performance (dynamic vision, vigilance and tracking, multiple task performance, reaction time). Multi-factorial and regression analysis techniques were used to determine the effect of the so called intermediate variables on cognitive task performance, sea sickness and dynamic vision. Results indicate that increased feelings of misery led to impaired visual and cognitive performance. Furthermore, impaired sleep, high levels of fatigue and sleepiness affected cognitive performance. It is concluded that human performance at sea seems to be affected more by indirect effects of sickness, fatigue and impaired sleep, rather than ship motion per se