This textbook provides a tutorial introduction to behavioral applications of control theory. Control theory describes the information one should be sensitive to and the pattern of influence that one should exert on a dynamic system in order to achieve a goal. As such, it is applicable to various forms of dynamic behavior. The book primarily deals with manual control (e.g., moving the cursor on a computer screen, lifting an object, hitting a ball, driving a car), both as a substantive area of study and as a useful perspective for approaching control theory. It is the experience of the authors that by imagining themselves as part of a manual control system, students are better able to learn numerous concepts in this field.
Topics include varieties of control theory, such as classical, optimal, fuzzy, adaptive, and learning control, as well as perception and decision making in dynamic contexts. The authors also discuss implications of control theory for how experiments can be conducted in the behavioral sciences. In each of these areas they have provided brief essays intended to convey key concepts that enable the reader to more easily pursue additional readings. Behavioral scientists teaching control courses will be very interested in this book.
"This long-awaited book provides a welcome--even essential--addition to every human factors professional's bookshelf….Indeed, the text makes a cogent case for the study and application of control theory in numerous facets of the human factors discipline….The two attributes that best describe the book are clarity and comprehensiveness. It is quite evident that the authors have succeeded in reaching their self-expressed goal for this work; that is, making the control theory accessible to a broad audience."
—Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science
"Throughout, one finds insightful commentary on applications of control theory to systems design and cognitive science research. If the value of a book comes from learning something new and fueling the imagination, this one should be required reading."
—Ergonomics in Design
"The text provides a solid introduction to the subject of manual control. Perhaps more importantly, the authors attempt to integrate control-theoretic descriptions with those derived from the field of experimental psychology. In doing so, they have provided a distinct service to the community of students and researchers working in the field of human/machine interaction. The text would be of definite value and interest to students in a wide variety of engineering disciplines."
—International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control
Contents: Preface. Perception/Action: A Systems Approach. Closing the Loop. Information Theory and Fitts' Law. The Step Response: First-Order Lag. Linear Systems: Block Diagrams and Laplace Transforms. The Step Response: Second-Order System. Nonproportional Control. Interactions Between Information and Dynamic Constraints. Order of Control. Tracking. There Must Be 50 Ways to See a Sine Wave. A Qualitative Look at Fourier Analysis. The Frequency Domain: Bode Analysis. The Frequency Domain: Describing the Human Operator. Additional Adaptive Aspects of the Crossover Model. Driving Around in Circles. Continuous Tracking: Optimal Control. Estimating and Predicting the State of a Dynamic System With Lag-Like Calculations. Varieties of Variability. Lifting a Glass of Juice. Sine Wave Tracking Is Predictably Attractive. Going With the Flow: An Optical Basis for the Control of Locomotion. Fuzzy Approaches to Vehicular Control. Learning to Control Difficult Systems: Neural Nets. Some Parallels Between Decision Making and Manual Control. Designing Experiments With Control Theory in Mind. Adaptation and Design. Appendix: Interactive Demonstrations.