I am a full professor in Applied Cognitive Psychology (0.4 fte) and a Principal Scientist at TNO (0.6 fte). My fields of research cover the areas of resilience engineering, macrocognition, and cognitive systems engineering. My current research interests are in studying resilient team communication patterns in anomalous situations.
I am the Editor in chief of the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, which is the premier journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society for peer-reviewed original papers of scientific merit examining how people engage in cognitive work in real-world settings and how that work can be supported through the design of technologies, operating concepts and operating procedures, decision-making strategies, teams and organizations, and training protocols.
I am the (co)editor of Cognitive Task Analysis (2000), Naturalistic Decision Making and Macrocognition (2008), and The Oxford Handbook of Expertise (2020).
I have organized the 7th International Conference on Naturalistic Decision Making in Amsterdam (2005), the 5th International Symposium on Resilience Engineering (2013) in Soesterberg, The Netherlands, and the International Workshop "Human Factors in Automation" (2016) in Soesterberg, The Netherlands.
- 1972-1978: “Het Drachtster Lyceum”, gymnasium β
- 1978-1979: University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
- 1979-1982: University of Groningen, BA Philosophy (cum laude)
- 1984-1985: University of Manchester (internship)
- 1980-1985: University of Groningen, MA Psychology
- 1985-1986: Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA
- 1994: University of Amsterdam, PhD Cognitive Psychology, under supervision of Prof. dr. J.J. Elshout. Thesis: “The generality and specificity of expertise”.
Work experience + projects
- 2015: Principal Scientist, specialist
- 2008-present: Part-time professor of Applied Cognitive Psychology, University of Twente
- 2005-2007: Knowledge manager TNO Defence, Security, and Safety (technology portfolio management; national and international collaboration)
- 2001-2003: Account manager Public Safety; senior project leader
- 2000-200: Foreign exchange scientist at the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, FL:
- 1986-2000: Junior and medior project leader
- 2012: Dr. Ing. Leo van Breda Award for most successful application of Human-System Interaction. Project: Walrus Engineering Support Project (WESP).
- 2013: Dr. Ing. Leo van Breda Award for most successful application of Human-System Interaction. Project: More patient safety through safer interfacing.
- University of Twente “UT-afstudeerscriptieprijs” awarded for best Master thesis for the Faculty of Behavioral Sciences in 2011-2012, written by Wendy Vos, supervised by me. Title of Master thesis: “Quantitative and efficient usability testing in high-risk system development: Under diversity of user groups”.
Selected past projects
- 2011: Mindfulness and Security Awareness (Royal Netherlands Military Police).
- 2010: Patient Safety (Pieken in de Delta funding). Consortium of TNO, University Medical Center Utrecht, Pontes Medical, Zuidzeven, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, University Medical Center Amsterdam, Dutch Game Garden, and Task Force Innovation Utrecht.
- 2010: Cognitive aspects of friendly fire incidents (European Defence Agency).
- 2010: Future naval submarines (Office of Naval Research).
- 2004: Human-System Task Integration (Netherlands Ministry of Defence).
- 2002: COMBINED systems: Decision support in crisis management (Senter Novem)
- 2002: VIRTUE: Virtual Team User Environments (EU FP6).
- 1997: Tactical Picture Agent (Office of Naval Research).
- 1991: GIDS: Generic Intelligent Driver Support (EU FP4)
In line with the UT’s motto of High Tech – Human Touch, I study how brittle technologies influence joint cognitive system performance. More powerful technological support will be introduced, facilitated by advances in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Big Data. However, every form of technological support has a capability envelope, that is, it is restricted in the conditions under which it can operate. We need to know how system design affects human performance when this capability envelope is exceeded and what guidance is available for the design of joint cognitive systems so that they can be resilient when these capability envelopes are exceeded.
The focus of my chair is to study the characteristics, qualities and attributes of resilient teams and organizations and the integral role of technology therein. My ambitions are to achieve a better understanding of what structural communication dynamics make teams resilient in the long run to anomalous situations and deriving training and design recommendations from this understanding.
I have studied communication patterns in teams in various domains, such as aviation, mission control centers, medicine, and railway control centers. There are distinct communication patterns in both expected and unexpected (anomalous) situations. Teams adapt to unexpected situations first by maintaining institutional roles and displaying closed-loop communication for as long as possible. If situations become more anomalous and demands continue to increase, flattening communication structures and active information seeking behaviors are resilient patterns that are observed. In extreme cases, communication within a team may break down, as was observed in the Air France Flight 447 disaster: the pilots increasingly relied on immediately preceding communication patterns during the emergency, rather than on pre-meditated, conscious decisions for distribution of communication.
Google Scholar Link
I teach a 5 EC master level course on Resilience Engineering within the Human Factors & Engineering Psychology master program.
Resilience engineering is an advanced course in which the sustained adaptability of complex sociotechnical systems is studied. Examples of complex sociotechnical systems may be found in aeronautics and space systems, military systems, the chemical and nuclear industries, healthcare systems, or power systems. The goal of this course is to provide students with in-depth knowledge of current safety science and cognitive systems engineering theories.
This course prepares students for the Psychology work field in the following ways: (1) by emphasizing original, independent, desk research and concept development, and presenting the outcomes of this research in a clear and convincing written form, the students will be prepared for a career as a Ph.D. student, where the same skills are required; (2) by dealing with complex, ill-structured problems, students will be prepared for a career in human factors in high-risk industries or any other industry where safety is a major concern; (3) although this course does not focus on relatively simple human-computer interaction, students will be made aware of the larger context in which such interaction takes place, and thus will contribute to a career in interaction design or usability engineering.
I also teach a 5 EC master level course on Concepts, Measures and Methods within the Interaction Technology master program.
In this course, students will be familiarized with concepts from the fields of cognitive engineering, user-centered design, contextual design, and human-computer interaction, as far as these are relevant to observing and analyzing human behavior. Knowledge of concepts is tested through weekly in-class multiple choice tests (50%). A select number of methods for exploring user contexts will be taught in lectures and applied by the students in a practical case of their choice. Methods include: diary studies, interview, surveys, hierarchical task analysis, focus groups, card sorting, evaluation methods, and coding of video materials. Students will start with a research proposal in which the choice of methods is argued for, apply these methods in a practical assignment, and will present the findings of their study in a final written report (50%).
I contribute to the Bachelor Psychology program by teaching a class on Human Error in Module 6 Human Factors & Engineering Psychology, as well as by supervising a group within module 7 Research Methods and Research Project.