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Event cognition at the workplace: perceiving, understanding, and practicing assembly tasks

  • The Event Segmentation Theory (Kurby & Zacks, 2008; Zacks, Speer, Swallow, Braver, & Reynolds, 2007) explains the perceptual organization of an ongoing activity into meaningful events. The classical event segmentation task (Newtson, 1973) involves watching an online video and indicating with key presses the event boundaries, i.e., when one event ends and the next one begins. The resulting hierarchical organization of object-based coarse events and action-based fine events gives insight into various cognitive processes. I used the Event Segmentation Theory to develop assistance and training systems for assembly workers in industrial settings at various levels - experts, new hires, and intellectually disabled people. Therefore, the first scientific question I asked was whether online and offline event segmentation result in the same event boundaries. This is important because assembly work requires not only watching activities online but processing the information offline, e.g., while performing the assembly task. By developing a special software tool that enables assessment of offline event boundaries, I established that online perception and offline elaboration lead to similar event boundaries. This study supports prior work suggesting that instructions should be structured around event boundaries. Secondly, I investigated the importance of fine versus coarse event boundaries when learning the sequence of steps in virtual training, both for novices and experts in car door assembly. I found memory, tested by ability to predict the next frame, to be enhanced for object-based coarse events from the nearest fine event boundary. However, virtual training did not improve memory for action-based fine events from the nearest coarse event boundary. I conjecture that trainees primarily acquire the sequence of object-based coarse events in an initial training. Based on differences found in memory performance between experts and novices, I conclude that memory for action-based fine events is dependent on expertise. Thirdly, I used the Event Segmentation Theory to investigate whether the simple and repetitive assembly tasks offered at workshops for intellectually disabled persons utilize their full cognitive potential. I analyzed event segmentation performance of 32 intellectually disabled persons compared to 30 controls using a variety of event segmentation measures. I found specific deficits in event boundary detection and hierarchical organization of events for the intellectually disabled group. However, results suggest that hierarchical organization is task-dependent. Because the event segmentation task accounted for differences in general cognitive ability, I propose the event segmentation task as diagnostic method for the need for support in executing assembly tasks. Based on these three studies, I argue that the Event Segmentation Theory offers a framework for assessment and assistance of important attentional, perceptual, and memory processes related to assembly tasks. I demonstrate how practical applications can make use of this framework for the development of new computer-based assistance and training systems that are tailored to the users’ need for support and improve their quality of life.

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Metadaten
Author:Katharina Sebastian
URN (permanent link):urn:nbn:de:hbz:386-kluedo-42118
Advisor:Tandra Ghose, Markus Huff
Document Type:Doctoral Thesis
Language of publication:English
Publication Date:2015/10/30
Year of Publication:2015
Publishing Institute:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Granting Institute:Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Acceptance Date of the Thesis:2015/09/28
Date of the Publication (Server):2015/11/02
Tag:assembly tasks; computer-based systems; event segmentation; intellectual disability; virtual training; worker assistance
Number of page:VII, 100
Faculties / Organisational entities:Fachbereich Sozialwissenschaften
DDC-Cassification:1 Philosophie und Psychologie / 150 Psychologie
Licence (German):Standard gemäß KLUEDO-Leitlinien vom 30.07.2015