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Enhancing Sustained Attention

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Arguably, automation is fast transforming many enterprise business processes, transforming operational jobs into monitoring tasks. Consequently, the ability to sustain attention during extended periods of monitoring is becoming a critical skill. This manuscript presents a Brain-Computer Interface (BCI) prototype which seeks to combat decrements in sustained attention during monitoring tasks within an enterprise system. A brain-computer interface is a system which uses physiological signals output by the user as an input. The goal is to better understand human responses while performing tasks involving decision and monitoring cycles, finding ways to improve performance and decrease on-task error. Decision readiness and the ability to synthesize complex and abundant information in a brief period during critical events has never been more important. Closed-loop control and motivational control theory were synthesized to provide the basis from which a framework for a prototype was developed to demonstrate the feasibility and value of a BCI in critical enterprise activities. In this pilot study, the BCI was implemented and evaluated through laboratory experimentation using an ecologically valid task. The results show that the technological artifact allowed users to regulate sustained attention positively while performing the task. Levels of sustained attention were shown to be higher in the conditions assisted by the BCI. Furthermore, this increased cognitive response seems to be related to increased on-task action and a small reduction in on-task errors. The research concludes with a discussion of the future research directions and their application in the enterprise.


Demazure, Théophile; Karran, Alexander; Léger, Pierre-Majorique; Labonté-LeMoyne, Élise; Sénécal, Sylvain; Fredette, Marc; Babin, Gilbert (2021): Enhancing Sustained Attention. Business & Information Systems Engineering: Vol. 63, No. 6. DOI: 10.1007/s12599-021-00701-3. Springer. PISSN: 1867-0202. pp. 653-668