Cognitive Neuroscience of Human Systems: Work and Everyday Life, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Cognitive Neuroscience of Human Systems

Work and Everyday Life, 1st Edition

By Chris Forsythe, Huafei Liao, Michael Christopher Stefan Trumbo, Rogelio E. Cardona-Rivera

CRC Press

326 pages | 20 B/W Illus.

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Paperback: 9781138073371
pub: 2017-03-31
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pub: 2014-09-26
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While there have been tremendous advances in our scientific understanding of the brain, this work has been largely academic, and often oriented toward clinical publication. Cognitive Neuroscience of Human Systems: Work and Everyday Life addresses the relationship between neurophysiological processes and the performance and experience of humans in everyday life. It samples the vast neuroscience literature to identify those areas of research that speak directly to the performance and experience of humans in everyday settings, highlighting the practical, everyday application of brain science.

The book explains the underlying basis for well-established principles from human factors, ergonomics, and industrial engineering and design. It also sheds new light on factors affecting human performance and behavior. This is not an academic treatment of neuroscience, but rather a translation that makes modern brain science accessible and easily applicable to systems design, education and training, and the development of policies and practices. The authors supply clear and direct guidance on the applications of principles from brain science to everyday problems.

With discussions of topics from brain science and their relevance to everyday activities, the book focuses on the science, describing the findings and the studies producing these findings. It then decodes how these findings relate to everyday life and how you can integrate them into your work to achieve more effective outcomes based on a fundamental understanding of how the operations of the human brain produce behavior and modulate performance.


"I think this book is very important in that it allows the layperson to connect the pieces of the brain puzzle back to him or herself. I think many people conceptually understand that caffeine is a psychoactive substance. The popular media does a good job at advertising how such substances have benefits to our cognitive processes like memory. However, to really grasp that each individual needs the proper dosing at the right time for caffeine to be beneficial is lost. Most people use caffeine to combat sleep deprivation and are not aware of the harm they are doing when they do not consider how caffeine actually affects the brain."

—Cali Fidopiastis, University of Alabama at Birmingham

Table of Contents




A Few Basics

Neurons: A Basic Unit of the Brain

Neurons Live in a Protected Fluid Environment

The Brain Sustains a Homeostatic Balance

Our Brains Are Continually Being Shaped

Many Functions May Be Localized to Specific

Regions of the Brain

Everyday Activities Involve Integrated Functions Dispersed

throughout the Brain

The Brain Is a Complex System, Yet Is Only One Component

in a Larger System of Systems

No Two Brains Work Exactly the Same

Our Best Measures Do Not Tell Us Exactly How the Brain Works

Magnetoencephalography (MEG)



Conscious Awareness

Conscious versus Nonconscious Engagement

Vulnerabilities That Arise Due to the Limits of Our

Conscious Awareness

Timing of Brain Processes and Conscious Awareness

Default Network: Mind Wandering

Inattentional Blindness

Implicit Operations of the Brain

Unconscious Impact of Cognitive State on Decisions



Perceptual Experience

Our Minds Attend To a Small Slice of What Our Brains Sense

Our Judgment Is Shaped by Unconscious Sensory Experiences

Perception Is Multisensory

The Brain Responds More Strongly To Some Stimuli than Others

Vulnerabilities Arising from Our Perceptual Processes

Perceptual Activities the Brain Does Well

Perception Is Not a Continuous Process

Perceptual Processes May Be Flexibly Adapted To Circumstances

The External World Is Replicated within the Brain

Activity in the Brain Does Not Mean There Was a Conscious

Perceptual Experience

Our Brains Are Specially Tuned To the Actions of Others

Our Sense of the World Is a Product of Our Social Environment



Strengths and Weaknesses

How to Cope with the Inherent Weaknesses of the Human Brain

Designating to Our Strengths

The Google Effect and the Symbiosis between Brain and


Once a Task Has Become Automated, Conscious Control

Can Be Surprisingly Effortful

Are We Multitaskers or Merely Good Task Switchers?

Brains Reflexively Respond To Exceptions

As "Pattern-Seeking Primates," the Default Condition Is to Believe




Error from the Brain’s Perspective

Organizational Approach to Human Error

Confusion Regarding the Term Human Error

Interactive Nature and Complexity of Human Error

Error Classifications




Cognitive States

Pharmacological Enhancement: Caffeine

Pharmacological Enhancement: Nicotine

Cognitive Enhancement through Physical Exercise

Cognitive Enhancement through Meditation

Concluding Thoughts and Future Directions




Anders Ericsson and the Notion of Deliberative Practice

What Makes an Expert Different?



Teams and Groups

Defining Groups

Social Psychology and Neuroscience

Cooperation and Altruism

Group Intelligence

Social Cognition, Metacognition, and Mentalization

Neural Synchronization and Correlation During Group Processes





Neurotechnology to Augment, Train, Preserve, or Repair Cognitive Skills

Neurotechnology as a Tool to Design or Adapt Human–Computer Interaction

Neurotechnology as a New Modality through Which Systems Are Controlled

Neurophysiological Measurement

Desiderata for Design in Neurotechnology

Future Directions


Multiplayer Neurogaming

Neurocognitive Approaches to Interactive Narratives



About the Authors

Chris Forsythe is a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff at Sandia National Laboratories, in Albuquerque, NM. He has a PhD in Experimental Psychology and MS in Biopsychology from the University of Memphis. His primary expertise lies in the application of technology to improve human performance. He has worked in diverse areas that include: human-machine transactions, high consequence systems, cyber, automotive systems, training and neurotechnology. His research interests encompass individual differences in the neurophysiology of human performance, advanced training technologies development, and human-machine systems integration. He regularly conducts seminars on the application of brain science to everyday life for audiences that extend from professional conference attendees to elementary school age children, and works extensively with youth to promote their interest in science and technology.

Huafei (Harry) Liao is a Senior Technical Staff Member in the Risk and Reliability Analysis Department of Sandia National Laboratories (SNL), Albuquerque, NM, USA. He has many years of experience with human performance modeling in the nuclear industry and his work currently focuses on human factors and human reliability in complex systems and high-risk environments. He holds a B.S. and M.S. in Control Theories and Control Engineering from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, and a Ph.D. in Human Factors and Ergonomics from Purdue University.

Michael C.S. Trumbo is a doctoral candidate in the Cognition, Brain, and Behavior program within the University of New Mexico Psychology Department, where he is further affiliated with the Psychology Clinical Neuroscience Center. Additionally, Michael conducts research on human performance at Sandia National Laboratories and through The Mind Research Network and Lovelace Biomedical and Environmental Research Institute. Research interests center on facilitation of human performance in both clinical and healthy populations in a variety of professional and educational realms, with a particular emphasis on the use of electrical brain stimulation in order to achieve such.

Rogelio E. Cardona-Rivera is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at North Carolina State University and is advised by Dr. R. Michael Young in the Liquid Narrative Research Group. Rogelio’s thesis work is at the intersection of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, narratology and game design and focuses on creating a cognitive model of the player’s understanding of an unfolding story in an interactive narrative through the use of narrative affordances. Rogelio completed a M.Sc. in Computer Science at North Carolina State University, and a B.Sc. in Computer Engineering at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. He has held internship positions at Sandia National Laboratories, Apple, The MIT/Lincoln Laboratory and Goldman Sachs. Rogelio is a Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellow and a GEM Fellow.

About the Series

Human Factors and Ergonomics

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / Neuroscience
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Engineering
TECHNOLOGY & ENGINEERING / Industrial Health & Safety