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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Gary B Kaniuk, Psy.D.(Cermak Health Services)
Description: Part of the Oxford Library of Psychology series, this book explores cognitive engineering, which is the analysis of systems and/or workplaces to achieve institutional objectives.
Purpose: The book details contemporary cognitive engineering research, covering "human factors, human-computer interaction, and the conceptual foundations of cognitive engineering," while "also focusing on individual cognition, addressing topics of attention, decision making, and multitasking."
Audience: It is directed at researchers, students, and practitioners in cognitive engineering and related fields. John D. Lee is professor and director of the Cognitive Systems Laboratory at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where he does research on safety and acceptance of human-machine systems. His coeditor, Alex Kirlik, a professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, researches human-technology systems in order to understand judgment, prediction, diagnosis, and decision-making. Contributors represent the United States, Scotland, Canada, Sweden, Israel, Australia, Germany, France, and The Netherlands.
Features: An introduction and a history of cognitive engineering, which can be traced back 30 years, begins the book. Part Two describes cognition in engineered systems. It notes that many factors must be considered to discover the stability of closed-loop systems. Attention in design is important in order to balance performance and workload. The authors address multitasking in order to be able to generalize laboratory results to the real world. Situation awareness is a construct that must be examined in order to better assist people in many different roles, such as drivers, air traffic controllers, or business executives. People who operate at high levels of expertise use extended working memory, anticipate future states, and improve deliberate practice, along with accompanying changes in the structure of the brain. Part Three explores cognitive engineering methods, including cognitive task analysis (CTA), cognitive work analysis (CWA), and decision-centered design. Decision-centered design can be broken down into five stages: preparation, knowledge elicitation, analysis and representation, application design, and evaluation. The book also discusses design technologies to aid older adults. Part Four covers cognitive engineering models. The authors address cognitive modeling within an interactive system, human-automation interaction, queuing networks, and judgment of human operators in a work environment. The book ends with chapters on cognitive technologies, including analogical and metaphorical representations, emergent phenomena and cognitive processes, and visual display techniques in relation to uncertainty information. Numerous figures and tables help clarify the research findings. Chapters use a fairly uniform format, with abstracts, key words, text, conclusions, future directions, and references.
Assessment: This is a fairly exhaustive handbook, covering 41 different topics in its 639 pages, that requires a background in cognitive engineering to get the most out of it. It is full of supporting research that reaches from the individual operator to systems and organizations, showing how technology influences performance. For individuals in this field, it is a tremendous reference.