TRL and RSSB are involved in joint research investigating the effects of very low mental workload (also known as cognitive underload) on train driver performance. This is a particularly important area of research because certain train driving scenarios involve periods of very low task demands, requiring the driver to continuously monitor and respond to repetitive stimuli in the environment, whilst at the same time maintaining a preparedness to react appropriately to infrequent critical events (Larue et al., 2010). Such conditions are associated with a reduction in arousal and attention, and reduced vigilance with increasing time on task. The purpose of the current research was thus to understand whether it is possible to establish a set of reliable, objective physiological measures that could detect the presence of underload in a sample of train drivers.

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