To read this content please select one of the options below:

23. Cognition and Collaboration in Hybrid Human–Robot Teams: Viewing Workload and Performance through the Lens of Multimedia Cognitive Load

Human Factors of Remotely Operated Vehicles

ISBN: 978-0-76231-247-4, eISBN: 978-1-84950-370-9

Publication date: 2 May 2006


Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) is the product of over a decade of research in the instructional science domain (Chandler & Sweller, 1991; Sweller & Chandler, 1994), and its applications to other areas of inquiry continues to expand (see Cuevas, Fiore, & Oser, 2002; Paas, Renkl, & Sweller, 2003a; Paas, Tuovinen, Tabbers, & Van Gerven, 2003b; Scielzo, Fiore, Cuevas, & Salas, 2004). The core of CLT is based on two sets of what are termed cognitive load factors that are either endogenous or exogenous from the viewpoint of an operator interacting with the environment. Endogenous (or intrinsic) factors are sources of cognitive load in terms of the general amount and complexity of information with which the operator has to interact. In training environments, intrinsic load is directly proportional to the amount of materials that trainees need to acquire. As such, the more complex the information is in terms of volume and conceptual interactivity, the higher the cognitive load will be. In operational settings, high intrinsic load can occur whenever informational demands that need to be processed are high. Within the context of human–robot team environments, there is likely to be unique intrinsic load factors emerging from this hybrid teamwork interaction (e.g., information produced by synthetic team members). Another source of cognitive load comes from exogenous or extraneous factors. In training and operational settings alike, extraneous cognitive load may occur dependent upon the manner in which information needing attention is presented. Specifically, the more complex the human–robot team interface is in relation to the process by which information is displayed and/or communicated, the more extraneous cognitive load can be present. For example, the technological tools involved in the communication of information, and the associated modalities used to process information may inadvertently result in cognitive load. Simply put, high extraneous cognitive load can be produced as a result of using sub-optimal information presentation and communication. Overall, exogenous factors can stem from the added complexity of human–robot operations in terms of distinct command-and-control systems that emerge from using novel technology. Within such operations, it is particularly important to control sources of extraneous cognitive load that have been shown to produce two distinct negative effects on information processing – redundancy of information and split-attention. These have been shown to attenuate processing capacity thereby minimizing optimal information processing (e.g., Sweller, 1994; Mayer, 1999).


Scielzo, S., Fiore, S.M., Jentsch, F. and Finkelstein, N.M. (2006), "23. Cognition and Collaboration in Hybrid Human–Robot Teams: Viewing Workload and Performance through the Lens of Multimedia Cognitive Load", Cooke, N.J., Pringle, H.L., Pedersen, H.K. and Connor, O. (Ed.) Human Factors of Remotely Operated Vehicles (Advances in Human Performance and Cognitive Engineering Research, Vol. 7), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 329-342.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited