Psychology 2990A/B Lecture Notes - Graphical User Interface, Engineering Psychology, Human Factors And Ergonomics

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Engineering psychology
Fitting the machine to the user
Fitting the user to the machine
A. Other common names for the field:
Human factors,
Human factor engineering
Human engineering
-engineering psychology
B. Definition p. 226: the science of
a. designing machines for human use and
b. determining appropriate behaviors for the efficient operation of machines.
- machines includes thump tacks to nuclear missiles
= Two goals that led to development of the field
- fitting the machine to the user,
- fitting the user to the machine
Part 1: Historical development
a. Design the machine and ignore the user.
- not effective approach seen during WW2.
- Design of army tanks (p.235) there was no problem with the tanks, no consideration
was given to the ppl using the tanks.
- Eg: too much noise, couldn’t talk to eachother,
- Poor visibility, could not see near the tank and would fall into ditches.
- Seating position caused back and neck injuries,
- More damage to the operators than the enemy!
Altitude display in airplanes: too complex (took 7 sec to read; misread 12% of the time).
- 700 feet (or 10,700 feet)?
B. Design the machine and then “fit” user to the machine.
Two approaches:
1. Select people who fit the machine eg:
- if strength required, select strong users
- if intelligence required; select intelligent users ( this is true in I-O psychology; finding
the right person for the job)
Problem: not always possible to find people who “fit” the machine eg:
- women in WW2 weapons factories were not very productive. Why?
- Not smart enough? No!
- But, machines were designed for men women didn’t “fit” the machines (but men were
not allowed to use them).
2. Train people to use the machine. Eg.,
- give pilots more training with altitude displays;
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