Date of Award

Fall 2013

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Human Factors & Systems


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Jon French, Ph.D.

First Committee Member

Albert Bouquet, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

Nancy Lawrence, Ph. D.


Seat comfort has become increasingly important in today's society as we spend more time at consoles, instrument panels, or just online. However, seat comfort is hard to define and difficult to measure. Several measures both objective and subjective were used to evaluate seat comfort in commercially available average pilot seats. Three pilot seats, which had the same material and similar adjustments but different physical attributes, and a universal classroom seat, with different material and no adjustments, were compared by 20 volunteers using subjective and objective measures in a Latin square controlled repeated measures design. A Friedman's test was used to determine that both the comfort questionnaire and the body-map rating results were able to discriminate objective comfort levels between the seats. One-way repeated measures ANOVA tests were used to analyze both the objective tests, actigraph and pressure pad data. All results indicated that one seat was clearly the most comfortable and another, the classroom seat was clearly the most uncomfortable seat. Furthermore, the overall comments per seat were compiled and compared to Fazlollahtabar's 2010) predictive automobile seat comfort theory to determine which factors influence comfort perception. The use of both subjective and objective data can better distinguish comfort from one seat over the other. These results have implications for future tests of seats that will be used for long durations. Limitations and future recommendations are discussed later in the paper. An interesting finding may explain why pressure pad data are typically seemingly at odds with subjective measures of seat comfort.