Cognitive Control of Human Activities and Errors: Implication for Ecological Interface Design

K.J. Vicente, Jens Rasmussen

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Research during recent years has shown that human errors cannotbe considered as stochastic events which can be removed by better training orby optimal interface design. Rather, errors tend to reflect either systematicinterference between various models, rules, and schemata, or the effects ofthe adaptive mechanisms involved in training that lead to transfer of controlfrom one cognitive level to another. Therefore, the approach to reliable hu-man-system interaction will be to design interfaces which tend to minimizethe potential for control interference and support the recovery from errors,i.e., to focus on control of the effects of errors rather than on the eliminationof errors per se. In this paper, we suggest a theoretical framework for inter-face design that attempts to meet these objectives. The goal of ecological in-terface design (EID) is to develop a meaningful representation of the processwhich is not just optimised for one particular level of cognitive control, butthat supports all three levels simultaneously. The paper discusses the neces-sary requirements for a mapping between the process and the combined ac-tion/observation surface, and analyses the influence on the interferencescausing error and on the opportunity for error recovery left to the operator.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)87-550-1345-7
Publication statusPublished - 1987
Externally publishedYes
Event4th International Conference on Event Perception and Action - Trieste, Italy
Duration: 24 Aug 198728 Aug 1987


Conference4th International Conference on Event Perception and Action


  • Risø-M-2660


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