The Human Factors and Applied Cognition (HuFAC) laboratory located at the University of Western Australia, Perth. Our research sits at the intersection of cognitive science and human factors and aims to uncover the cognitive mechanisms that underlie human performance in everyday life and in safety-critical work contexts. We conduct both basic experimental psychology research and research using simulations of air traffic control, submarine track management, piloting and driving. This research is complemented by the delivery of human factors consultancy services within Australian and internationally. Some specific research areas of interest include Prospective Memory, Situational Awareness, Conflict Detection, Interruptions and Automation.
The HuFAC laboratory conducts a series of research projects with support from several key government and industry agencies such as the Australian Research Council (ARC), the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), Department of Airforce (Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development), and the Neurotrauma Research Program (NRP). Check out some of our research projects below.
Many complex workplace tasks require operators to maintain a tactical picture of the environment in face of multiple task demands. We investigate how best to measure situational awareness of this tactical picture, and whether these measures impact on workload.
Increasingly, complex tasks are being automated in order to increase safety. However, what impact do automated systems have on human operators? Our research investigates the how humans respond to automation (and failures of automation) in terms of workload, situational awareness and overall performance.
In modern work environments, interruptions, distractions and multitasking are commonplace. In safety critical workplace settings, this can have serious safety implications. Through the use of basic and complex simulations, our research aims to understand and prevent situations where error may occur from multitasking.
In our everyday lives we often need to defer intended actions until a later time when conditions for their execution are met, this is called prospective memory. We apply theories and methods from basic cognitive tasks to complex workplace simulations, such as air traffic control, where prospective memory errors can be disasterous.