Publication Abstract

Determining Learning Level And Effective Training Times Using Thermography

Kang, J., McGinley, J., Babski-Reeves, K., & McFadyen, G. (2006). Determining Learning Level And Effective Training Times Using Thermography. In Proceedings of Army Science Conference, Orlando, FL.


The goal of this study was to demonstrate a measurable correlation between facial temperature changes and the human learning process. This study also introduces a method for determining sufficient training time by monitoring the cognitive load of the learner as indicated by changes in facial temperature. A non-invasive method using an infrared camera was employed to detect nose temperature changes during performance of a novel alpha-numeric task. Nine participants (5 males and 4 females) completed the study protocols. Participants completed 7 blocks of the novel task. Changes in nose temperature, reaction time, accuracy on task, and subjective perceptions of mental workload were collected. In general, reaction time and subjective perceptions of workload decreased across blocks, while nose temperature and accuracy were found to increase. The majority of changes were found to occur in from the first block to the second, indicating that a significant amount of learning had taken place. Significant performance improvements were not found beyond the first block, though subjective perceptions of workloads consistently decreased across blocks. Strong correlations were found between each of the dependent variables indicating that thermal readings, MCH ratings, and performance are drawing on the same constructs (mental workload and learning). Given these findings, thermography may be useful in defining sufficient training times for learning novel tasks, thereby improving training quality and reducing training costs.