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University Bulletin

Undergraduate Degree Programs

Psychology (PSYCH)

PSYCH 244 (GS) Introduction to the Psychology of Human Factors Engineering (3) Introductory course in engineering/human factors psychology, emphasizing the application of core psychological principles and research to designing products and systems.

PSYCH 244 Introduction to the Psychology of Human Factors Engineering (3)

Human Factors Psychology is an area of psychology where the overall focus is the scientific study of human behavior and how it can be applied to the use, design and development of products and systems. Students will learn basic principles of how people process information, perceive and interact with the world in various circumstances. They will learn how psychologists conduct research on human thought and behavior in an effort to measure peoples’ perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. These basic principles will be illustrated and explored with a series of hands-on activities that relate the material to everyday life.

Topics to be covered include: research design and methods, sensation and perception, memory and language, and social psychology. Psychological principles from these areas will be used to discuss ways to improve the safety of tools and systems, reduce human error and increase user satisfaction. Students will also gain a better understanding of the influence of stress and workload on human performance. A major topic will be ways to develop reliable and valid evaluation techniques for assessing performance, safety and ease of use of systems. In order to design effective systems, individual differences in age, gender and culture must be taken into account. People in different regions of the world have cultural differences that influence the way they perceive the world and process information. These individual differences will be addressed throughout the semester. Topics are presented through a combination of lectures, readings, demonstrations, and in-class activities. Active learning elements such as library/internet research, writing activities, and collaborate learning experiences will be applied. Evaluation is on the basis of content-based quizzes, objective exams, brief written reports of hands-on exercises, and collaborative assignments.

A major goal of the course is to show how questions relating to proper use and design of tools, computers and other systems are addressed through empirical research. The course introduces students to theories, research, and procedures used in psychological research and practice. It also promotes students to think critically about how they can apply this knowledge to enhance their lives. After taking this course students should have more sophisticated knowledge of the relationship between the brain, our thought processes and behavior. They should be able to make more informed decisions about what makes a usable product as well gain a better appreciation of the science and profession of human factors psychology.


General Education: GS
Diversity: None
Bachelor of Arts: None
Effective: Spring 2009
Prerequisite: PSYCH 100 or 3 credits of GS

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.