Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

M. Eng.


Industrial Engineering

Committee Chair

Saleem, Jason

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Welch, Karla

Committee Member

Welch, Karla

Committee Member

Depuy, Gail


The purpose of this study was to explore different ways to measure mental workload for competitive video games using two different techniques: heart rate variability (HRV) and the NASA Task Load Index (TLX). eSports is a rising form of a competitive sport as well as a source of entertainment for people all over the world. I write this in hopes to find efficient and verified ways to estimate mental workload. I also hope this work can pioneer the expansion of literature for the competitive gaming scene.

The study design is a single factor, within-subject design. The single factor was Game Difficulty. There were two levels of this factor: "Games without mental arithmetic secondary task" and "Games with mental arithmetic secondary task". A gaming team of four team members participated in five trials (i.e., the gaming team performed a game with each of the two levels a total of five times).

Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) was used for the collection of statistical analysis of HVR as well as the NASA-TLX survey. Analysis revealed that HRV percent change were not sensitive to mental workload change during competitive gaming and that the NASA TLX instrument was more sensitive to mental workload changes but not completely effective. This thesis experiment provides an important contribution to the little literature available in the field iv of gaming; this study was an important first step for further research in effective mental workload measurement in gaming.