Format of Original
Taylor & Francis
Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science
This study investigated the roles of four psychosocial variables – anxiety, conscientiousness, emotional intelligence, and Protestant work ethic – on subjective ratings of cognitive workload as measured by the Task Load Index (TLX) and the further connections between the four variables and TLX ratings of task performance. The four variables represented aspects of an underlying construct of elasticity versus rigidity in response to workload. Participants were 141 undergraduates who performed a vigilance task under different speeded conditions while working on a jigsaw puzzle for 90 minutes. Regression analysis showed that anxiety and emotional intelligence were the two variables most proximally related to TLX ratings. TLX ratings contributed to the prediction of performance on the puzzle, but not the vigilance task. Severity error bias was evident in some of the ratings. Although working in pairs improved performance, it also resulted in higher ratings of temporal demand and perceived performance pressure.