Study level

  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

In progress.


Dr Gregoire Larue
Senior Research Fellow
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health
Dr Christopher Watling
Visiting Fellow
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Health


Understanding the psychophysiological and cognitive workload changes associated with dual-tasking (i.e., mobile device use with a cognitive performance task) is an important research objective and safety concern. A number of distraction tasks have been used in previous dual-tasking research studies; however, few have employed specific psychological measures alongside of standard subjective workload and performance-based measures to understand the changes that occur with different cognitive workload requirements. Thus, a comprehensive evaluation of a laboratory-based dual-tasking paradigm employing specific psychological measures (i.e., eye tracking, pupillometry, electrocardiography) as well as subjective workload and performance-based measures is needed.

The current project seeks to explore and quantify the psychophysiological and workload changes associated with dual-tasking (i.e., mobile device use with a cognitive performance task) with a laboratory-based study design. Study participants will perform various cognitive and performance tasks using a number of distraction tasks. Measures used in the current study design include the performance outcomes from the distraction, cognitive performance tasks and psychological (i.e., eye tracking, pupillometry, electrocardiography) data will also be collected.

Research activities

Research activities include:

  • laboratory experiments
  • participant recruitment
  • data collection
  • data entry
  • data analysis.

This VRES project will give you a hands-on experience of conducting a laboratory-based study. You'll be trained to competence with the use of the various study tasks and the psychological measures. You'll then be responsible for recruiting participants and running the study. At a minimum, you'll also be familiarised with the extraction and processing of the obtained data and, time permitting, the initial write-up of the results.

Ethical clearance will be sought prior to you starting on the project, however, students interested in the ethical clearance process will be instructed in this matter as well.

You'll have access to the laboratory based at CARRS-Q (K block) where the study will be performed, as well as a desk and computer for non-laboratory-based tasks (e.g., checking emails, writing up laboratory observations/notes, etc). The supervisors will be available in person throughout the VRES project, except during the holiday period. The supervisors will also meet with you at least once a week and more frequently when required (i.e., during laboratory-based training).

Topic start date
1 November 2021
Topic end date
25 February 2022 end

Skills and experience

You must have a background in psychology. Some familiarity with psychological methods would be advantageous but not entirely necessary.



Contact the supervisor for more information.