Prof. Dr. Edmund Wascher
In order to evaluate the integration of skills and deficiencies of human information processing in modern work environments, current technologies and forms of interaction need to be explored. Not only the way in which information is presented in an operating environment plays a role, but also how the user interacts on a specific interface and how the interface influences her/his mental state.
The overall concept in the Department of Ergonomics substantiates the evaluation of current and future human-technology interaction on a cognitive-scientific basis. In addition to the mitigation of influences such as age, noise, fatigue, or stress in general, specific technical environments are also very closely examined. In the far-reaching opportunity to simulate a wide variety of workplaces (see Future lab), various projects attempt to examine cognitive factors influencing human-technology interaction in highly controlled environments and to evaluate them neuroscientifically.
Human information processing is extremely susceptible to interference and can be affected by both internal and external factors, there by causing failures. Such disruptions of information processing are considered a major accident risk in many areas of modern work. The IfADo especially focuses on the investigation of how monotony affects, for example driving performance (with special consideration of older people). An attempt is made to further develop a physiologically plausible model of mental fatigue, thereby gaining a better understanding of this phenomenon.
In addition to the evaluation of future user interfaces, a number of recent human-machine interfaces are systematically investigated with respect to ergonomics. These investigations will focus on simulations-based on experimental cognitive psychology – which mimic work situations as realistically as possible. Mobile measurement techniques allow us to taken neurophysiological methods to real workplaces in order to investigate behavior and its underlying neurophysiology in natural environments.