Leukocyte reactivity as an objective means of quantifying mental loading during ergonomic evaluation.
Shelton-Rayner GK., Macdonald DW., Chandler S., Robertson D., Mian R.
Psychological stress evokes rapid changes to the cardiovascular and neuroendocrine systems, responses that can become habituated following repeated exposure. This study, comprising of two phases, suggests that the immune system follows a similar trend. Phase 1: 15 healthy subjects (aged between 26 and 56years) provided capillary blood samples before and after completing three basic tasks using, in turn, two automotive touch screen interfaces (Interface 1-antecedent version, Interface 2-improved version). Using a chemiluminescent technique termed leukocyte coping capacity (LCC), the ability of leukocytes to produce reactive oxygen species in vitro was assessed. Significant differences in leukocyte activity were shown between treatment groups, where the greatest post-test decrease occurred after using Interface 1. Phase 2: a randomly selected sub-group (n=4) underwent weekly repeat testing using both interfaces. Significant differences in post-test leukocyte reactivity were exhibited between test weeks for each interface-the magnitude of response decreasing with successive exposure.