International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics

This study demonstrates how immune responsiveness, known to be influenced by psychological stress, can be used to assess changes in mental workload. Healthy male and female subjects provided capillary blood samples before and after completing the same, basic, driver-related tasks followed by a simple manoeuvre in two unfamiliar motor vehicles.

Using the Leukocyte Coping Capacity (LCC) test kit, the ability of leukocytes to produce reactive oxygen species in vitro was assessed. Significant post-stressor changes in leukocyte activity were demonstrated between treatment groups. These findings add weight to the proposition that leukocyte activation is a useful quantitative measure of psychological stress and mental loading in humans. This study demonstrates the diagnostic ability of LCC for use during ergonomic evaluation.

SHELTON-RAYNER G, MIAN R, CHANDLER S, ROBERTSON D, MACDONALD DW (2012) Leukocyte responsiveness, a quantitative assay for subjective mental workload. Int J Industrial Ergonomics 42, 25-33.