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Applied Cognitive Psychology


Applied Cognitive Psychology Introductory Lecture * * * * * * Course outline: Two lectures per week. Seminars in weeks 2, 4, 6 and 8 Course requirements: Coursework ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Applied Cognitive Psychology

Applied Cognitive Psychology Introductory Lecture
Course outline Two lectures per week. Seminars
in weeks 2, 4, 6 and 8 Course requirements Cour
sework essay (1,500 words) evaluate a journal
article Extended essay (3,000 words) evaluate
two journal articles (compare and contrast) 10
minute presentation evaluate a journal article
Course outline in detail Part 1 (GH1) eyewitness
testimony. Part 2 (GH2) driving. Part 3 (EF)
language and communication.
What's wrong with systems such as Photofit and
E-Fit? Problems with identification parades
Factors affecting the reliability of
eyewitness testimony Children as witnesses
Interview techniques Perceptual and
attentional factors in driving Effects of age
on driving performance youth Effects of age on
driving performance old age Stressors and
driver performance fatigue Stressors and
driver performance in-car information systems
Non-verbal communication Language in a
forensic context lies and deception Language
in a forensic context jury decision-making
Dialogue and group discussions
Computer-mediated communication texting and
A brief selective history of applied cognitive
psychology Ergonomics - study of man-machine
interface Forensic psychology - application of
psychological research to legal and
criminological issues
The development of ergonomics Core disciplines
- psychology and physiology 1940's WW2 -
studies of vigilance in radar operators, pilot
fatigue, gunner targeting performance,
control/display compatibility. UK
Interdisciplinary groups at Admiralty, and MRC
Applied Psychology Unit Cambridge, 1944
(Mackworth, Craik, Bartlett, Broadbent). 1940's,
US Fitts studies of pilot error, pilot's
eye-movements. 1947 start of U.S. Human Factors
Society. 1949 start of U.K. Ergonomics Society.
Grether (1949) Frequent crashes occur due to
altimeter mis-readings. Experiments to
objectively evaluate speed and accuracy of
altimeter readings.
Big differences between altimeters 3-point
altimeter often led to 1,000 - feet
underestimation of height.
Reading speed and accuracy for different
altimeter designs (Grether, 1949)
Fitts and Jones (1947) 50 of pilot errors in
operating aircraft controls involved using the
wrong one. Aircraft Position of Control
left centre right B-25 throttle prop mi
xture C-47 prop throttle mixture
C-82 mixture throttle prop Mappings
between locations and functions need to be
consistent and unambiguous. WW2 in first 2
years of combat, over 2,000 multi-engine U.S.
aircraft crashed because the landing gear and
wing flap controls could not be discriminated
from one another by location, feel, or direction
of movement. Design error, not "pilot" error.
Pilot error and accidents
Cause 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s All Pil
ot Error 41 37 29 30 31 30 33 Pilot Error 
(weather related) 11 17 15 16 19 19 16 Pilot
Error (mechanical related) 7 3 4 4 6 3 4 Total
Pilot Error 59 57 48 50 56 52 53 Other Human
Error 4 7 10 6 7 9 7 Weather 14 11 10 12 9 8 11 M
echanical Failure 20 19 21 21 21 25 21  Sabotage
3 4 9 10 7 6 7  Other Cause 0 2 2 1 1 0 1
1,843 fatal accidents involving commercial
aircraft, world-wide, from 1950 - 2006 for which
a specific cause is known (
Human-computer interaction Late 20th century
computers restricted to specialist, highly
trained operatives. 21st century ubiquitous
computing and the need to consider non-nerds
(VCR's, PVR's, ATM's, internet banking, Google
and email, tills, cameras, phones, cars - plus
experts from other disciplines who use computers,
e.g. doctors, pilots).
Forensic psychology 19th century memory research
dominated by Ebbinghaus' approach but forensic
psychology begins, with Munsterberg's applied
memory research.
Hugo Munsterberg (1863-1916)
Cesare Lombroso and criminal anthropology A
are shoplifters, "B" are swindlers, "E" are
murderers, "H" are purse snatchers.
Francis Galtons composite technique for
identifying types
12 Boston doctors, 1894.
Left composite of 12 officers. Right 12 privates
Left composite of 9 criminals. Right 5
criminals. Centre left and right combined..
1980's memory in the real world Neisser,
Loftus. 21st century DNA and the "Innocence
Project" - 244 convictions overturned, over 3/4
involved mistaken identification. Cognitive
Interview techniques improve police interviewing
of witnesses. E-Fit (a facial composite system
based on psychological principles) has superseded
Photofit (a system that isn't). Police and
Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) likely to be revised
in accordance with BPS guidelines advocating
"double blind" lineups and recording witness
confidence at the time of the identification (as
opposed to retrospectively).
Interplay between pure and applied
psychology Practical benefits of applied
research (improved eyewitness interviewing
procedures, better computer interfaces, safer
roads, safer aeroplanes). Extends and tests
theories based on "pure" research. Introduction
of concepts (e.g. "mental workload" and
situational awareness") into psychology from
workplace. Broadbent (1971) "applied psychology
is the best basis for a genuine theory of human
Issues in applying psychology to real-world
problems Ecological validity
Representativeness of student participants (drug
studies - chronic versus acute effects driving
behaviour time-scales, stress and involvement in
memory studies). Ethical issues Informed
consent may be impracticable. Exposure to risk
(driving research) means use of simulators with
attendant loss of validity. Effect size
Statistical significance versus practical
significance. Group differences are not
necessarily individual differences. Experimental
rigour Applied research sometimes needs to use
quasi-experimental designs.
Methods used in applied psychology
research Experiments Not always practicable
(e.g. for ethical reasons) artificiality (e.g.
simulator studies), demand characteristics. Surve
ys Problems of self-report (especially for
illegal activities), memory limitations (Chapman
and Underwood 2000). Statistical analyses of
accident statistics, etc. Selection bias,
unreliability, relatively small sample size (e.g.
for mobile phone-related accidents, drugged
driving, etc.), exposure issues, usually many
factors involved.
Conclusions Application of psychology to
real-world problems has a long and fruitful
history. More important than ever before
(increasing technological complexity, ageing
population). Need better communication of
research findings to relevant audiences. Designer
s, engineers, lawyers, judges etc. often do not
fully appreciate the potential importance of
cognitive psychology for their disciplines.
Munsterberg " The progress of experimental
psychology makes it an absurd incongruity that
the State should ... never ask the psychological
expert to determine the value of that factor
which becomes most influential - the mind of the
witness. The demand that the memory of the
witness should be tested with the methods of
modern psychology has been raised sometimes, but
it seems necessary to add that the study of his
perceptive judgment will have to find its way
into the court-room, too". Beevis and Slade
(2003) There is increasing demand for
cost-benefit data to justify using ergonomists
but relatively few demonstrations of quantitative
benefits from using ergonomists (e.g. increased
productivity, reduced accidents). "It seems
unnecessary that the value to a design team of a
specialist in human performance should be
evaluated on a financial basis when the advice of
specialists in electrical, mechanical,
metallurgical or dynamic performance is accepted
as natural in order to achieve a given
specification. The education of designers and
engineers to think of seeking the advice of an
ergonomist as naturally as they would that of a
specialist in an engineering discipline would do
much to change current attitudes and would do
away with the defensive approach implicit in talk
of the financial justification of ergonomic