Exploring the influence of individual factors on the perception of mental workload and body postures


Industrial and Systems Engineering

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Studies have revealed that physical and mental demands, psychosocial factors, and individual factors can contribute to the development of WMSDs. Yet, much is still unknown regarding the effects of individual characteristics on WMSDs susceptibility. Previous studies discovered people assumed more awkward body postures to perform an activity when the perception of mental workload is higher. This research study explored if individual characteristics such as age, sex, personality, and anxiety help explain changes or differences in the perception of mental workload and body postures assume when performing activities. The study provided evidence that these individual characteristics have a modifying role on perceived mental workload and body postures. The results suggest that perceived mental workload is influenced to a higher extent by individual characteristics such as anxiety, sex, and personality traits. Women have a higher (18.7%) mental workload perception than men. Likewise, NASA-TLX scores are 22% higher for feelers than thinkers. In general, higher perceptions of mental workload were observed in participants with higher anxiety levels. On the other hand, body postures seem to be influenced by different individual factors depending on the nature of the activity. RULA scores increased on average by 13.1% between baseline and time constraint conditions. Larger differences were observed in certain individuals (e.g. introverts (19.7%) and intuitors (13.8%)) across conditions.

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