An Overview of Human Factors Psychology

Alex Kirlik

in The Oxford Handbook of Organizational Psychology, Volume 2

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780199928286
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Library of Psychology

An Overview of Human Factors Psychology

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  • Psychology
  • Organizational Psychology
  • Cognitive Psychology



This chapter presents a contemporary overview of human factors psychology, including its origins, core problems, methodological approaches, and overviews of state-of-the-art research in three key areas likely to be relevant to industrial/organizational psychology. These include: human-automation interaction, or HAI; situation awareness, or SA; and distraction, multitasking, and interruption, or DMI. Each of these areas has arisen as a result of the increased challenges and opportunities provided by ever increasing levels of technological sophistication in the workplace. The chapter concludes by noting that human factors researchers are increasingly drawing on, and contributing to, social, in addition to cognitive, psychological research. This trend, motivated by both increasing levels of technological autonomy and opacity, as well as by the fact that social coordination and teamwork is increasingly mediated by information and communication technologies, bodes well for human factors and industrial/organizational psychology to have an even greater symbiotic and mutually informing relationship in the future.

Keywords: human factors; human-technology interaction; applied cognition; representative design; human-automation interaction; situation awareness; distraction; multitasking; interruption

Article.  13396 words. 

Subjects: Psychology ; Organizational Psychology ; Cognitive Psychology

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