Nasser Kashou (Committee Member), Richard McKinley (Committee Member), Chandler Phillips (Committee Chair), David Reynolds (Committee Member), Dana Rogers (Committee Member)
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Multitasking has become an integral attribute associated with military operations in tasks such as cyber defense operators, remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) operators and air traffic controllers. These tasks are monotonous and repetitive in nature requiring the human operator to interpret and process information that may exceed their mental capability. When the human operator can no longer effectively process and respond to the critical incoming information, an asymptotic limit known as the multitasking throughput capacity (MTC) will be present. At this point, critical target detection and reaction times may degrade resulting in a decrement in performance. The objective of this research study was to implement a form of non-invasive brain stimulation technique known as transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) over the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (lDLPFC) region of the scalp to improve information processing capabilities during a multitasking environment. This region of the brain was selected as the stimulation site because of its association with sustained attention, working memory and decision making which have been linked with multitasking performance. Each participant received either anodal or sham tDCS during a 36 minute version of the multi-attribute task battery (MATB). The anodal tDCS provided a continuous current of 2mA for a duration of 30 minutes which was administered at the beginning of the MATB program. The sham tDCS emulated the sensation of receiving anodal tDCS, however the 2mA current was only provided for 30 seconds. The findings suggests that anodal tDCS significantly improves a human operators processing capability by increasing baud rate (p = 0.0005) and information throughput (p = 0.0003) during a multitasking environment resulting in improved performance compared to the sham tDCS group.
Department or Program
Ph.D. in Engineering
Year Degree Awarded
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