Definition - What does Cognitive Ergonomics mean?
Cognitive ergonomics is the branch of ergonomics that focuses on the mental processes involved in processing or handling information. Simply put it is the ergonomics of the brain. Cognitive ergonomics seeks to apply the growing body of knowledge from cognitive or brain science to mental processes including perception, memory, attention, decision-making and learning. Good cognitive ergonomic practices find the balance between human cognitive abilities and limitations and the environments in which people work or the systems they work with. As workplaces become more complex, high-tech and automated, its relevance is growing. The goal of cognitive ergonomics is to increase productivity and reduce human error.
WorkplaceTesting explains Cognitive Ergonomics
Cognitive ergonomics covers a wide variety of domains within the work environment from mental workload to human reliability and from human-computer interaction to workplace stress. It also plays a role in the way in which workers are trained. Increasingly intricate automations can lead to more complex and rapid decision making, increased need for caution and more possibilities for errors or accidents. Designers need to account for both complex tasks, changing environments and even the fact that people tend to either mistrust automated systems or put too much trust in them.
This is where cognitive ergonomics comes in. Applications for cognitive ergonomics can include the design of signs to promote readability or the design of software to ensure ease of use. Other examples include the design of nuclear power plant control systems and airplane cockpits where human error can have devastating consequences. Cognitive ergonomics can be utilized in any workplace that involves a major cognitive function such as calculations or decision making, workplaces where safety is of critical importance and in work environments that are highly complex or frequently changing in a way that tasks cannot be predetermined.