Cognitive Ergonomics

The International Ergonomics Association (IEA) defines cognitive ergonomics as being “concerned with mental processes, such as perception, memory, reasoning, and motor response, as they affect interactions among humans and other elements of a system.” Relevant topics in this area include mental workload, decision-making, skilled performance, human-computer interaction, human reliability, work stress and training as these may relate to human-system design.
The Center’s main research activities in the area of Cognitive Ergonomics currently relate to:
Research Activities Active Faculty
Human-Automation / Robot Interaction  Paul Green, Nadine Sarter, Leia Stirling, Xi Jessie Yang
Computational and Integrative Models of Human Cognitive Performance Paul Green, Yili Liu, Bernard Martin, Matt Reed
Design and Evaluation of Multimodal Human-Machine Interfaces. (Interfaces That Distribute Information Across Vision, Audition and Touch) Yili Liu, Nadine Sarter, Leia Stirling
Decision Support Systems/Decision Aiding Yili Liu, Nadine Sarter, Leia Stirling
Alarm Design Nadine Sarter
Cognitive Task/Work Analysis Nadine Sarter, Leia Stirling
Information Visualization Nadine Sarter
Design of Driver Interfaces Paul Green, Yili Liu, Matt Reed, Nadine Sarter

Biomechanics and Work Physiology

Biomechanics and work physiology are disciplines within the field of Physical Ergonomics which IEA defines as being “concerned with human anatomical, anthropometric, physiological and biomechanical characteristics as they relate to physical activity.” The form of biomechanics practiced in the Center for Ergonomics is consistent with what is commonly referred to as “Functional Biomechanics”. It was defined by Frankel and Nordin (1980) as using “laws of physics and engineering concepts to describe motion undergone by the various body segments, and the forces acting on these body parts during normal daily activities.”
The Center’s main research activities in the areas of Biomechanics and Work Physiology focus on:
Research Activities Active Faculty
Human Modeling Tom Armstrong, Yili Liu, Bernard Martin, Matt Reed
Anthropometry Matt Reed
Hand Models Tom Armstrong
Work-related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs) Tom ArmstrongBernard Martin, Sheryl Ulin
Climbing Tom Armstrong
Posture/Motion Modeling Tom ArmstrongBernard Martin, Matt Reed, Leia Stirling
Human Vibration Exposure Bernard Martin
Fatigue Tom Armstrong, Bernard Martin
Job/Task Analysis Procedures Tom Armstrong, Paul Green,
Special Populations (e.g., Aging, Disabilities) Tom Armstrong, Matt Reed,


Research at the Center for Ergonomics is concerned also with the development of frameworks, methods, and models for analyzing and preventing mishaps and complex system failures in a variety of domains. Using a systems approach and/or epidemiology, we examine the contribution of cognitive/perceptual, technological, and organizational factors to incidents and accidents. The overall goal of this work is to develop tools that help prevent and manage erroneous actions by end users as well as increase resilience and create a safety culture at all levels of an organization.
Research Activities Active Faculty
Falls Tom Armstrong, Matt Reed
Human Error and Error Management Yili Liu, Nadine Sarter


Research in the Center for Ergonomics is conducted in a wide range of application domains, including:
Research Activities Active Faculty
Aviation and Space Yili Liu, Nadine Sarter, Leia Stirling
Driving Paul Green, Yili Liu, Bernard Martin, Matt Reed, Nadine Sarter
Vehicle Design Matt Reed
Manufacturing Tom ArmstrongYili Liu, Bernard Martin, Matt ReedSheryl Ulin
Human-Computer Interface Tom Armstrong, Paul Green, Yili Liu, Bernard Martin, Nadine Sarter, Leia Stirling
Inclusive Design Paul Green, Yili Liu, Matt Reed
MSD Screening/Surveillance  Yili Liu, Sheryl Ulin
Healthcare Tom Armstrong, Nadine Sarter, Leia Stirling, Sheryl Ulin
Military Operations Tom Armstrong, Nadine Sarter, Leia Stirling
Office Tom Armstrong, Matt Reed, Sheryl Ulin
Service Tom Armstrong, Sheryl Ulin