An evaluation of mental workload with frontal EEG

Winnie Ka Yan SO, Wai Ho Savio WONG, Joseph N.F. MAK, Rosa H. M. CHAN

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23 Citations (Scopus)


Using a wireless single channel EEG device, we investigated the feasibility of using short-term frontal EEG as a means to evaluate the dynamic changes of mental workload. Frontal EEG signals were recorded from twenty healthy subjects performing four cognitive and motor tasks, including arithmetic operation, finger tapping, mental rotation and lexical decision task. Our findings revealed that theta activity is the common EEG feature that increases with difficulty across four tasks. Meanwhile, with a short-time analysis window, the level of mental workload could be classified from EEG features with 65%-75% accuracy across subjects using a SVM model. These findings suggest that frontal EEG could be used for evaluating the dynamic changes of mental workload. Copyright © 2017 So et al.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


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So, W. K. Y., Wong, S. W. H., Mak, J. N., & Chan, R. H. M. (2017). An evaluation of mental workload with frontal EEG. PloS one, 12(4), Article e0174949. Retrieved July 18, 2017, from