Department of Psychology

Applied Cognitive Psychology and Human Factors

Various of our research lines are of great importance for applied settings such as the design of work environments, for example, in aviation or medical settings, but also other settings important for everyday life.

One example concerns the effectiveness (and the perhaps related problems) of different formats of attitude indicators in aviation. The same information can be conveyed by the "inside-out"-display or alternatively by an "outside-in"-display (see the illustration to the right). Even though the first version is used in many (Western) aircrafts, laboratory research suggests an advantage of the latter display, as it can be construed as response-effect compatible (see, e.g., Janczyk, Yamaguchi, Proctor, & Pfister, 2015).

A second field where compatibility effects can be fruitfully applied is that of tool-use. For example, a lever with one pivot (see left illustration) inverses the movement-direction of the tool relative to the hand-movement (hand-tool incompatible panel in the illustration). An important field of application is laparoscopic surgery, where the surgeon inserts the devices into the body and creates a situation of a lever with one pivot. Again, this situation can be construed as response-effect incompatibility. Our research showed that - compared to the compatible condition - this does create performance decrements (e.g., Janczyk, Pfister, & Kunde, 2012), and also occupies central resources that are needed for other concurrent tasks such as high-level speech production planning or retrieval/encoding from/into memory (e.g., Kunde, Pfister, & Janczyk, 2012).

Recently, we started to investigate different input devices and their suceptibility to interference and distraction. One example concern gestures used to interact with a computer or entertainment devices. In the right example, an up- or down-swiping gesture is used to move the screen content up or down. Currently, the preferred gesture-content-movement combination is investigated in our lab (Janczyk, Xiong, & Proctor, accepted/in press). Other work (e.g., Janczyk, Pfister, & Kunde, 2013) is concerned with the susceptibility of mouse-movements to distraction by irrelevant variations of target items. Further, our research on multitasking in general concerns human factors research, since we are also investigating how multitasking costs can be reduced and performance be facilitated. For more information on this, please see here, here, or here.

Recent publications:

Janczyk, M., Xiong, A., & Proctor, R.W. (accepted/in press). Stimulus-response and response-effect compatibility with touchless gestures and moving action effects. Human Factors.

Janczyk, M., Yamaguchi, M., Proctor, R.W., Pfister, R. (2015). Response-effect compatibility with complex actions: The case of wheel rotations. Attention, Perception, & Psychophysics, 77, 930-940.

Janczyk, M., Pfister, R., & Kunde, W. (2013). Mice move smoothly: Irrelevant object variation affects perception, but not computer-mouse actions. Experimental Brain Research, 231, 97-106.

Janczyk, M., Pfister, R., Crognale, M., & Kunde, W. (2012). Effective rotations: Action effects determine the interplay of mental and manual rotations. Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, 141, 489-501

Janczyk, M., Pfister, R. & Kunde, W. (2012). On the persistence of tool-based compatibility effects. Journal of Psychology, 220, 16-22.

Kunde, W., Pfister, R. & Janczyk, M. (2012). The locus of tool-transformation costs. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 38, 703-714.