Effects of alcohol ingestion and workload on quality and productivity of females for a paced and unpaced assembly task

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


Eight subjects participated in an assembly task in which they assembled a simulated circuit board. The task required exact placement of three similarly coded resistors, which were chosen from a set of five resistors, followed by adjusting a voltmeter to a specified value. Participants performed the assembly task under various blood alcohol concentrations (Placebo, 0.05%, 0.07%, and 0.09%) to assess the effects of alcohol and workload on quality and productivity.

Three levels of paced task conditions and two levels of unpaced task conditions were used for the assembly task conditions. In this study, seven measures of performance were assessed: number of correctly completed units, number of orientation errors, number of position errors, frequency and magnitude of meter adjustment errors, number of improper resistors, and number of incomplete units.

A significant alcohol effect (p < 0.0001) was evident for all the dependent variables in the two pacing paradigms with the exception of the magnitude of the meter adjustment errors.

Under the paced paradigm, the task condition was significant (p < 0.0001) for the number of completed units, the number of position errors, the number of orientation errors and the number of completed units.

Unpaced task condition revealed significance (p < 0.0001) for all the dependent variables with the exception of meter adjustment magnitude.

Interactions of alcohol by paced task condition were significant for the number of inaccurate units (p < 0. 00161) and the number of completed units (p < 0. 0001). Unpaced condition revealed interaction effects for the number of completed units (p < 0. 0001), the number of position errors (p < 0. 0001), the number of resistor errors.