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Introduction to Humans in Engineered Systems

ISBN: 978-0-470-54875-2
408 pages
October 2012
Introduction to Humans in Engineered Systems (0470548754) cover image

Fully up-to-date coverage of human factors engineering—plus online access to interactive demonstrations and exercises

Engineering accomplishments can be as spectacular as a moon landing or as mundane as an uneventful drive to the local grocery store. Their failures can be as devastating as a plane crash or a massive oil spill. Over the past decade, psychologists and engineers have made great strides in understanding how humans interact with complex engineered systems—human engineering.

Introduction to Humans in Engineered Systems provides historical context for the discipline and an overview of some of the real-world settings in which human engineering has been successfully applied, including aviation, medicine, computer science, and ground transportation. It presents findings on the nature and variety of human-engineering environments, human capabilities and limitations, and how these factors influence system performance. Important features include:

  • Contents organized around the interaction of the human operator with the larger environment to guide the analysis of real-world situations
  • A web-based archive of interactive demonstrations, exercises, and links to additional readings and tools applicable to a range of application domains
  • Web content customizable for focus on particular areas of study or research
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Preface xiii

Part I Historical Perspective 1

References 4

1 Natural and Engineered Systems 7

Purposeful Design 7

User-Centered Design 8

Design against Failure 10

Summary 12

References 12

2 Historical Roots 14

Engineering for Physical Limitations 14

Size 14

Strength 17

Speed and Efficiency 17

Engineering for Human Cognition 21

Writing 21

Number Systems 24

Point-and-Click Interfaces 25

The Modern Era 25

Aviation 26

The Digital Computer 28

A Fractured Field 30

Human Factors/Ergonomics 31

Human-Computer Interaction 33

Human-Systems Integration 33

Summary 34

References 34

3 The Current Practice 37

Aerospace 38

The Human-System Specialist in Aerospace 39

Medicine 40

The Human-System Specialist in Medicine 42

Automotive Industry 42

The Human-System Specialist in the Automotive Industry 43

Computer Industry 43

The Human-System Specialist in Human-Computer Interfaces 44

Summary 44

References 45

Part II The Environment 49

References 51

4 The Varied Nature of Environments 53

Static vs. Dynamic Domains 54

Sources of Difficulty in Static Environments 56

Modes 56

Comprehension 57

Sources of Difficulty in Dynamic Environments 58

Lag 58

Plant Dynamics 59

Control Order 63

Perturbation and Noise 66

Internal vs. External Pacing 67

Error Tolerance 68

Summary 69

References 69

5 The Social Context 71

Methodological Consequences of Group Size 74

Length/Variability of Response Times 74

Methods of Study and Analysis 75

Communication and Coordination Consequences of Group Size 76

Summary 79

References 80

6 Analysis Techniques 81

Modeling Static Environments: Finite State Representations 82

Modeling Dynamic Environments 84

Control Theory 85

Signal Detection Theory 88

Task Analysis 93

Measuring Complexity Using Information Theory 94

Modeling Throughput Using Queuing Theory 97

Summary 99

References 99

Part III The Human Element 101

References 103

7 Determinants of Human Behavior 105

The Human Factor 106

Structure and Content 107

Levels of Analysis 109

Summary 111

References 111

8 The Structure of Human Information Processing 113

Processing Stages 115

Cognition and Action 117

Cognition and Goal-Directed Behavior 119

Response Selection 119

The Hick-Hyman Law 120

Compatibility 123

The Nature of Capacity Limitations 125

Summary 126

References 126

9 Acquiring Information 127

Sensory Processing 127

Vision 127

Illumination 128

Reflectance of the Surface 128

Reflectance of Surrounding Surfaces 131

Anatomy of the Eye 131

Visual Acuity 132

Acuity and Retinal Eccentricity 135

Adaptation 138

Saccadic Eye Movements 139

Temporal Vision 141

Masking and Crowding 141

The What and Where of Vision 142

Summary 143

Color Vision 143

CIE Color Space 144

The Uses of Color 147

Audition 147

The Human Auditory System 149

Auditory Perception 150

Pitch, Masking, and Critical Bands 152

Auditory Localization 153

Auditory-Visual Cross-Modal Interactions 154

Sensory Processing Summary 157

Attention 157

Selective Attention 157

The Cocktail Party Phenomenon and Echoic Memory 158

Iconic Memory in Vision 159

Resource and Data Limits 160

The Capacity of Attention 163

The Processing of Unattended Items 163

Controlling Attention 164

Visual Search 164

Visual Monitoring 170

Information Foraging Theory 170

Summary 171

References 172

10 Central Processing Limitations on Multitasking 181

Bottleneck Theories 181

Central Bottleneck Theory 182

The Psychological Refractory Period Paradigm 183

Central Bottleneck Theory and Driving 185

Central Bottleneck Theory and Human-Computer Interaction 187

Fitts’ Law 189

Project Ernestine 190

Capacity Theories 191

Complexity in Resource Allocation 191

Allocation of Limited-Capacity Resources 192

Multiple Resource Theory 195

Using Multiple Resource Theory 198

Applications of Single-Channel and Multiple Resource Theories 200

Timesharing 201

Task-Switching Costs 201

Cognitive Operations in Task Switching 202

Timesharing Strategies and the Control of Processing 203

Speed-Accuracy Trade-Off 204

Optimal Strategies 205

Summary 205

References 206

11 Memory 210

Types of Memories 210

Short-Term Memory 211

Working Memory 213

Long-Term Memory 215

Episodic versus Semantic Memory 217

Retaining and Forgetting Information 218

Interference 220

Forgetting to Remember to Remember: Prospective Memory 223

Retrieving Information 224

Short-Term Memory Retrieval 225

Long-Term Memory Retrieval 226

Summary 230

References 231

12 Decision Making 236

Anatomy of a Decision 236

Normative Approaches to Decision Making 239

Rational Decisions 240

Bayes Theorem 240

Utility and Expected Value 242

Nonoptimality of Human Decisions 243

Failure to Consider Base Rate Information 244

Judging Numerical Quantities 245

Failure to Appreciate Statistical Properties 245

Cognitive Approaches to Decision Making 246

Confirmation Bias 247

Framing Effects 248

Overconfidence 249

Heuristics in Human Decisions 250

Availability 250

Representativeness 251

Anchoring 253

The Use of Heuristics 254

Other Influences on Decision Making 254

Process Models of Human Decision Making 256

Naturalistic Decision Making 259

Relationship between Decision-Making Models and Systems Engineering 262

Summary 263

References 263

Part IV Human-System Integration 267

References 269

13 A Case Study in Human-System Performance: The Exxon Valdez 271

An Account of the Grounding of the Tankship Exxon Valdez 272

The Nature of the Error 274

Mode Errors 274

Control Dynamics and Detection Times 276

Time Estimation 277

Decision Biases 278

Multitasking 279

Summary 281

References 282

14 Human Error 284

Human Error and System Error 284

The Nature of Human Error 285

Theories of Human Error 288

Error Types 289

Error Forms 290

Situation Awareness 292

Situation Awareness in Individuals 292

Situation Awareness of Teams 294

Cognitive Processing in Establishing Situation Awareness 295

Measuring Situation Awareness 296

Inferring Situation Awareness from Eye Fixation Patterns 299

Summary of Situation Awareness 300

Summary 301

References 301

15 Contextual Factors Affecting

Human-System Performance 307

Workload 307

Defining and Measuring Workload 308

Performance-Based Metrics 308

Cognitive Task Analysis 313

Physiological Indices of Workload 316

Subjective Ratings of Workload 318

Workload Summary 320

Interruption 320

Operator State 323

Fatigue 324

Sleep Deprivation and Circadian Rhythms 326

Summary 327

References 327

16 The Role of Automation in Human-System Performance 339

Using Automated Devices 341

Levels of Automation 343

A Taxonomy of Automation Levels 345

Automation as a Decision Support Aid 348

Automation and System Safety 352

Summary 354

References 354


Alarms and Alerts 360

Sensory Characteristics of Good Alerts and Alarms 361

Design Considerations in Alerts and Alarms 362

Human Factors Issues with Alerts and Alarms 363

Information Displays 364

Transform Information to Take Advantage of Human Perceptual Systems 365

Match Perceptual Cues to the Nature of the Judgment 365

Choose Perceptual Depictions Compatible with Internal Representations 367

Provide Feedback 371

Use Presentation Techniques That Minimize Demand for Focal Visual Attention 372

Use Perceptual Distinctions That Match Visual and Auditory Capabilities 372

Apply the Proximity Compatibility Principle 374

Create Barriers 374

Summary 377

References 377

Index 383

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ROGER W. REMINGTON is a professor and Vice-Chancellor's Research Fellow in the School of Psychology at The University of Queensland. DEBORAH A. BOEHM-DAVIS is a University Professor in the Department of Psychology and Associate Dean in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at George Mason University. CHARLES L. FOLK is a professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Cognitive Science Program at Villanova University.

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