TASKS THAT ELICIT COGNITIVE WORKLOAD
What sorts of tasks reliably elicit cognitive workload? Our experience is that cognitive workload increases as more brain regions or more cognitive functions become involved. Thus, tasks that are high level tasks such as executive function tasks involving planning or reasoning, tasks that have multiple components requiring the switching of attention among the components, and/or tasks that include multiple sensory modalities such as visual and auditory components serve well. (This is not meant to be an exclusive list but is rather a sample of the types of tasks that we have used successfully.)
Extremely simple tasks such as shape or letter recognition or tasks that are limited to a single brain function such as the n-back test of working memory capacity are not sufficiently complex to elicit reliable cognitive workload. Of course, such simple tasks could be combined with other simple tasks to form a complex one, and the resulting complex task should perform well in studies of cognitive workload
We conclude the section with a description and link for a free task that we created to validate the Index of Cognitive Workload (ICA) on more than a dozen different eye tracking systems.