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Work rhythm and physiological rhythms in repetitive computer work: effects of synchronization on well-being.

Henning RA; Sauter SL; Krieg EF
Int J Hum-Comput Interact 1992 Jul; 4(3):233-243
A study was undertaken to determine the stress produced by asynchrony between work rhythm and worker internal physiological rhythms for individuals engaged in repetitive computer work. A study group of 20 experienced female data entry personnel was enrolled into this study. Subjects were monitored during their performance of data entry tasks run at 12 computer controlled work rhythms. Work sessions were divided into 40 minute periods, and recordings were made of breathing and cardiac responses during each work period. The work rhythm was varied between work periods by varying the length of the data entry lines (three to 13 characters). Following each work period, subjects completed mood surveys regarding energy level, boredom, perceived stress and affective state. Data were subjected to multiple regression analysis. Work rhythms varied across work conditions, with the predominant frequencies ranging from 0.1 to 0.7 hertz. The mean synchronization score was 0.32. Synchronization between work and breathing rhythms was shown to be predictive of longer heartbeat intervals and increased heart rate variability, but not mood state. Synchronization between work and cardiac rhythms was predictive of decreased levels of boredom and fatigue. From this study the authors conclude that synchronization of physiological rhythms and work periodicity may improve the sense of well being felt by workers performing repetitive computer work.
Workers; Computers; Work-performance; Work-intervals; Job-stress; Physiological-function; Statistical-analysis; Repetitive-work; Keyboard-operators
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International Journal of Human-Computer Interaction
Page last reviewed: October 16, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division