Trends in Neuroergonomics: A Comprehensive Overview
Thorsten O. Zander
Stephen H. Fairclough
This Research Topic is dedicated to Raja Parasuraman who unexpectedly passed on March 22nd 2015. Raja Parasuraman’s pioneering work led the emergence of Neuroergonomics as a new scientific field. He combined his research interests in the field of Neuroergonomics which he defined as the study of the human brain in relation to performance at work and everyday settings. Raja Parasuraman was a pioneer, a truly exceptional researcher and an extraordinary person. He made significant contributions to a number of disciplines, from human factors to cognitive neuroscience. His advice to young researchers was to be passionate in order to develop theory and knowledge that can guide the design of technologies and environments for people. His legacy, the field of Neuroergonomics, will live on in countless faculties and students whom he advised and inspired with unmatched humility throughout the whole of his distinguished career. Raja Parasuraman was an impressive human being, a very kind person, and an absolutely inspiring individual who will be remembered by everyone who had the chance to meet him. About this Research Topic Since the advent of neuroergonomics, significant progress has been made with respect to methodology and tools for the investigation of the brain and behavior at work. This is especially the case for neuroscientific methods where the availability of ambulatory hardware, wearable sensors and advanced data analyses allow for imaging of brain dynamics in humans in applied environments. Methods such as: electroencephalography (EEG), functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS), and stimulation approaches like transcranial direct-currrent stimulation (tDCS) have made significant progress in both recording and altering brain activity while allowing full body movements outside laboratory environments. For neuroergonomics, the application of brain imaging in real-world scenarios is highly relevant. Traditionally, brain imaging experiments in human factors research tend to avoid active behavior for fear of artifacts and a contaminated data set that would provide limited insight into brain dynamics in real working environments. To overcome these problems new analyses approaches have to be developed that identify artifacts resulting from hostile recording environments and movement-related non-brain activity stemming from eye-, head, and full-body movements. The application of methodology from the field of Brain-Computer Interfacing (BCI) for neuroergonomics is one approach that has significant potential to enhance ambulatory monitoring and applied testing. Passive BCIs allow for assessing aspects of the user state online, such that systems can automatically adapt to their user. This neuroadaptive technology could lead to highly efficient working environments, to auto-adaptive experimental paradigms and to a continuous tracking of cognitive and affective aspects of the user state. Hence, deployment of portable neuroimaging technologies to real time settings could help assess cognitive and motivational states of personnel assigned to perform critical tasks. This Research Topic gathers submissions that cover new approaches in neuroergonomics. Different article type cover advanced neuroscience methods and neuroergonomics techniques as well as analysis approaches to investigate brain dynamics in working environments. The selection of papers provides insights into new neuroergonomic research approaches that demonstrate significant advances in brain imaging technologies that become more and more mobile, Moreover, a strong trend for new analyses approaches and paradigms investigating real work settings can be seen. Together, this unique collection of latest research papers provides a comprehensive overview on the latest developments in neuroergonomics.