389 Pages 61 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    394 Pages 61 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    Understanding the conditions under which variability in performance may arise, and the processes related to its emergence, gives us insight into the development of techniques for improving the quality of performance. Variability in Human Performance details the scientific and the practical implications of human performance variability by providing a broad perspective on how and why such variability occurs across a number of disciplinary domains. The text takes an approach that rests upon the idea of context, or design, specificity in performance, namely that variability in performance is closely referenced to design factors in the environment in which performance is occurring.

    An exploration of the link between variability and related processes, the book introduces a comprehensive framework for understanding human performance variability, presented in terms of how human control of behavior is closely tied to design factors in the performance environment. The authors introduce empirical evidence, as well as practical examples and application areas, in support of this framework. The book begins with coverage of neurobiological and biomechanical basis of movement variability, then examines rich and extensive empirical evidence available for context specificity in cognitive performance and learning, as a basis for cognitive performance variability. The book then reviews the evidence for context specificity in:

    • Student learning
    • Displaced feedback conditions
    • Human error behavior
    • Affective performance
    • Social and team performance

    The authors also explore work performance as influenced by complex sociotechnical systems and as a basis for performance variability, applying control systems concepts to an interpretation of the nature and basis of performance variability in all of these domains. They conclude by taking an evolutionary perspective on the origins and behavioral significance of human performance variability. The book then provides strategies on how individuals, groups, and organizations can significantly reduce variability in human performance that often leads to systems failures.

    Purpose and Scope
    Key Principles of HF/E Science

    Key Issues Bearing on the Properties and Purpose of Performance Variability
    Individual Differences
    Performance Prediction
    A Control Systems Perspective on Performance Variability
    Historical Perspective
    Control Systems Concepts
    Behavioral Cybernetics of Adaptive Systems Behavior
    Behavioral Cybernetics of Cognition

    Variability in Human Motor and Sport Performance

    The Role of Variability in Behavioral Control
    Methods for Analyzing Performance Variability
    Linear Methods
    Nonlinear Methods
    Time Series Analysis
    Fourier Transform Analysis.
    Theoretical Perspectives on Variability and Sport Skill Learning
    Schema Theory
    Dynamical Systems Theory
    Variability in Learning and Performing Skills
    Variability between Expert and Novice Performers
    Variability in Rehabilitation Settings

    Variability in Cognitive and Psychomotor Performance
    Historical Perspective
    Variability in Cognitive Performance
    Early Transfer of Training Example
    Differential Learning Research: Early Studies
    Differential Learning Research: Analytical Innovations
    Critical Analyses of Ackerman

    Variability in Psychomotor Performance
    Transfer of Training among Different Balance Tests
    Fitts’ Law: Context Specificity in Movement Time Performance.
    Hick-Hyman Law: Context Specificity in Choice Reaction Time Performance.
    The Law of Practice: Context Specificity in Learning.
    Qualitative Observations about Task Performance Variability
    Situation Awareness.
    Context Specific Observations of Gladwell

    Educational Ergonomics: Context Specificity in Student Learning

    The Nature of Student Learning from the Perspective of Educational Psychology
    The Nature of Student Learning from the Perspective of HF/E
    Origins and Scope of Learning Ergonomics
    The Influence of HF/E Design Factors on Student Performance and Learning.
    Impact of Classroom and School Building Design Factors on Student Performance and Learning.
    Impact of Educational System Design Factors on Student Performance and Learning
    Impact of Learning Strategy Design Factors on Student Performance and Learning.
    Impact of Student Character and Emotional Status on Student Performance and Learning.
    Impact of Student Health on Student Performance and Learning
    Impact of Community System Design Factors on Student Performance and Learning
    Influence of Nondesign-Related Factors on Student Learning
    Analysis Offers Nothing New
    Some Design Factors Not Considered

    Variability in Human Performance Under Displaced Sensory Feedback

    Historical Perspective
    Early History of Spatially Displaced Visual Feedback Research
    Early History of Delayed Feedback Research
    Behavioral Control Systems Analysis of Displaced Visual Feedback Effects
    Examples of Spatially Displaced Visual Feedback
    Example of Delayed Visual Feedback
    Compilation of Performance Effects of Spatially Displaced and Delayed Sensory Feedback
    Displaced Sensory Feedback Effects on Teleoperation
    Human Factors Issues with Workstation Telepresence
    Performance Variability during Teleoperation

    Human Error and Performance Variability

    Historical Perspective
    Context Specificity in Human Error
    Management Responsibility for Human Error
    Human Error as an Inherent Attribute of Human Performance Variability
    A Control Systems Perspective on Error Performance
    There are Evident Limitations to the Term "Human Error" as a Meaningful Scientific and Operational Concept
    Principles of Hazard Management
    Definitions, Scope, and Historical Perspective
    Rationale and Background
    Behavioral Cybernetic Model of Hazard Management
    Key Principles of Hazard Management

    Variability in Affective Performance

    Historical Perspective
    Personality and Performance Variability
    Emotion and Performance Variability

    Social Cybernetics of Team Performance Variability

    Cybernetic Fundamentals of Feedback and Feedforward Control
    Longstanding Scientific Reservations about Cybernetic Psychology
    Social Cybernetics and Teamwork
    Modes of Social Tracking
    Feedback Perturbation of Social Tracking
    Social Cybernetic Studies of Social Interaction and Teamwork Through .
    Design Factors and Variability in Social Tracking.
    Sensory Feedback Modality and Social Tracking Skill
    Learning of Social Tracking Skills
    Physiological Feedback Effects in Social Tracking
    Effects of Sensory Feedback Perturbations on Social Tracking
    Social Tracking in Group Interaction
    Social Cybernetic Basis of Cognitive Behavior and Communication
    Social Cybernetic Research Since
    Feedback Control Compliance During Parallel-Linked Social Tracking
    Delayed Feedback in Serial-Linked and Mutual Social Tracking
    Augmented Team Cognition.
    Social Cybernetics in Participatory Ergonomics Programs.
    Design Imperatives for Homeokinesis at the Team Level
    Assessment of Homeokinesis at the Team Level.

    Variability in Human Work Performance: Interaction with Complex Sociotechnical Systems
    Historical Perspective
    The Nature and Significance of Work
    Introduction: Human Control of the Behavioral Environment through Work
    Theories of Work
    General Laws and Customs of Work
    The Future of Work
    Work Performance Variability and Interaction with Complex Sociotechnical Systems.
    Work Performance Variability and the Design and Management of Organizational Systems
    Macroergonomic Perspectives on Organizational Performance Variability
    Synergism of Ergonomics with Safety, Quality, and Productivity of Organizational and Work Performance
    Operational Synergism between Safety and Quality
    A Control Systems Perspective on Organizational Design and Management: Role of Ergonomics.
    Work Performance Variability and Performance Variability of Economies and Nation States
    A Control Systems Perspective on Variability in Economic Performance
    Work Performance Variability and Variability in Economic Performance
    Work Performance Variability and Variability in Nation-State Performance
    A Control Systems Perspective on Variability in Nation-State Performance

    Variability in Fracture- Critical Systems
    Fracture-Critical System Failures
    Why Fracture-Critical Failures Happen
    Jeopardizing the Future.
    The Futility of Massive Scale
    The Perversity of Unintended Consequences.
    Creating a More Resilient Future for Ourselves

    Human Performance Variability: An Evolutionary Perspective
    Mechanisms of Evolution
    Nature Versus Nurture
    Heritability of Intelligence.
    Implications for Context Specificity
    Phylogenetic Origins of Human Performance Variability
    Human Self-Selection through Work.
    Landmarks in the Evolution of Human Work

    Summary and Conclusions

    Conclusions: The Purpose of Human Performance Variability


    Thomas J. Smith has research and teaching experience and funding support encompassing many areas of human factors/ergonomics, including human performance variability, educational ergonomics, human error and hazard management, occupational ergonomics, occupational health and safety, surface transportation, occupancy quality, patient safety, work physiology, kinesiology, and ergonomics certification systems. He is a research associate with the School of Kinesiology, University of Minnesota. He is a Certified Human Factors Professional with over 100 publications.
    His honors include serving as senior editor for a recent special issue of Ergonomics in Design dealing with the topic of globalization of ergonomics, serving as chair of the Professional Standards and Education Standing Committee for the International Ergonomics Association (IEA), originator and committee member for the IEA K.U. Smith Student Award, editorial board member for the journal Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, director and past president of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) Upper Midwest Chapter, general chair for the 2001 HFES Annual Meeting, member of the 2002 State of Minnesota Ergonomics Task Force, and member of the Dakota County (Minnesota) University of Minnesota Extension Committee.

    Robert A. Henning is an associate professor of industrial/organizational psychology at the University of Connecticut. He holds degrees from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in psychology (BS), biomedical engineering (MS), and industrial engineering (PhD). He also received three years of postdoctoral training at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in a fellowship program administered by the National Research Council. He is a board-certified professional ergonomist. Since 2006, he has been an active researcher in the Center for the Promotion of Health in the New England Workplace where he conducts research on programs

    "Throughout, the book focuses on the sources of variability in human performance, including the design of work systems. The book will therefore be of interest to a wide range of HFE specialists."
    —RS Bridger, Institute of Naval Medicine

    "This is a truly excellent book that increases awareness of the study of variability in movement performance. … Importantly, this book provides exciting discussions on theoretical problems on movement variability such as what are the sources of this variability."
    —DR. Nick Stergiou, University of Nebraska Omaha and University of Nebraska Medical Center