DOI: 10.1518/001872008x288394 ISSN:

Multiple Resources and Mental Workload

Christopher D. Wickens
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Applied Psychology
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics

Objective: The objective is to lay out the rationale for multiple resource theory and the particular 4-D multiple resource model, as well as to show how the model is useful both as a design tool and as a means of predicting multitask workload overload. Background: I describe the discoveries and developments regarding multiple resource theory that have emerged over the past 50 years that contribute to performance and workload prediction. Method: The article presents a history of the multiple resource concept, a computational version of the multiple resource model applied to multitask driving simulation data, and the relation of multiple resources to workload. Results: Research revealed the importance of the four dimensions in accounting for task interference and the association of resources with brain structure. Multiple resource models yielded high correlations between model predictions and data. Lower correlations also identified the existence of additional resources. Conclusion: The model was shown to be partially relevant to the concept of mental workload, with greatest relevance to performance breakdowns related to dual-task overload. Future challenges are identified. Application: The most important application of the multiple resource model is to recommend design changes when conditions of multitask resource overload exist.

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