Postural control as a probe for cognitive state: Exploiting human information processing to enhance performance

Carey D. Balaban, Joseph Cohn, Mark S. Redfern, Jarad Prinkey, Roy Stripling, Michael Hoffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The battlefield of the future will require the warfighter to multitask in numerous ways, seriously taxing the cognitive and perceptual capabilities of even the most advanced warrior. A principal concern in developing a better understanding of how current and proposed computational technologies can supplement and augment human performance in this and other environments is determining when such assistance is required. This challenge can be parsed into 2 components: determining what set of measurements accurately reflects cognitive state, and identifying techniques for synthesizing this set of measurements into a single collective cognitive state variable. The primary thesis of this proposal is that automatic human behavioral responses serve as inherent probes for cognitive state. Further, the human perception-action system is uniquely designed to capture, process, integrate, and act on an extraordinarily diverse range of information freely available in the natural environment. Together, this system and the surrounding environment which acts on it - and on which the system acts - form a dynamic coupling. Under normal conditions these couplings remain intact. When stressed, these couplings become degraded. Based on this understanding, the authors propose a unique suite of Cognitive Workload Assessment (CWA) tools, based on real-time measurements of postural control that can serve as both a stand-alone indicator of cognitive state as well as a cueing filter for engaging other CWA sensor suites that are currently under development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-286
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications


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