Gender and personality differences in cognitive tasks: a performance and human mental workload study

Batun, Betül
The increasing complexity of today’s systems creates more demand on individuals during their daily tasks and mental workload becomes more important during a cognitive process. In this study, our aim is to investigate whether individual differences, cognitive task types and task difficulty have a significant impact on mental workload and how those elements affect mental workload if they do. N-back, maze and information sampling task (IST) are used as cognitive tasks. Mental workload is assessed by monitoring changes in blood oxygenation using functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIR). It is observed that males do more trials than females during IST, males have better 4-back performance but no gender differences are observed for other performance measures. No significant difference between genders exists in blood oxygenation levels. Agreeableness and conscientiousness personality traits have negative correlations with IST performance. Extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness and openness to experience have correlations with blood oxygenation levels. Lastly, we observe from our results that performance decreases with the increasing difficulty level and oxygenation level in voxels increases with the increasing difficulty level. In the future, a larger sample of participants, more difficult tasks and participants from different fields and schools should be chosen in order to provide more reliable results.


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Citation Formats
B. Batun, “Gender and personality differences in cognitive tasks: a performance and human mental workload study,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2015.