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THE PSYCHOLOGY DEPARTMENT

 Human Factors Ph.D. Program

Human factors psychologists study human capabilities and limitations and apply that knowledge to systems and environments to enhance human performance. The field strives to make it easier and safer for people to use technology and equipment in their everyday life to improve home and work environments.

The Human Factors Program at WSU

WSU’s Human Factors program is accredited by the Human Factors and Ergonomic Society and provides a strong foundation in research design and methodology within the wider context of basic and applied experimental psychology. We believe that the best way to prepare human factors psychologists for the applied environment is to provide general training in experimental psychology as well as specific experience conducting research on specialized topics.

Admissions Requirements 

  • Undergraduate major in psychology or related area with coursework in statistics and research methods
  • Minimum GPA of 3.0
  • Submission of scores on the GRE (Verbal and Quantitative)
  • Three letters of reference
  • Career/goals statement
  • Application materials must be completed by January 15

Internship

An internship is required of those in the human factors program for completion of the Ph.D. in Human Factors Psychology. The internship typically involves a minimum of 3 months of intensive training and supervised experience in a human factors related position. Past internships have involved paid employment with Google, Microsoft, Motorola, Honeywell, Dell, State Farm Insurance, 3M, and many others.


Research Laboratories

Aging, Perception, and Performance Lab (APPL)

JPEG ImageJPEG Image JPEG ImageAPPL’s interests cover a number of areas including basic and applied research concerning visual perception, reading, aging, driving, and aviation. Much of the research has been funded by grants from industry and government agencies including the U.S. Air Force, FAA, Microsoft Corporation, and General Atomics. APPL’s current projects include: 1) An investigation of the effects of driver distraction including text messaging on hazard detection and vehicle lane control; 2) How cellular phone design affects driver workload; 3) The effects of simulated cataracts on speechreading.


Human-Automation and Interaction Lab (HAIL)

JPEG ImageJPEG ImageHAIL is interested in eye movements and attention, and the application of psychological theories and paradigms to real-world tasks (e.g., human computer interaction and driving). Current research projects include 1) detection of driver fatigue and distraction using vehicle dynamics, eye tracking, and EEG, 2) performance changes and mechanisms of distracted driving and automation-assisted driving.


Laboratory of Applied Visual Attention (LAVA)

JPEG Image JPEG ImageLAVA studies visual perception and attention with a focus on how modern technologies are changing the way people visually process information. Current research topics include the effects of video games on visual attention, how multitasking behaviors and preferences influence attentional filtering, strengthening visual processing using points and sound effects as feedback, graphical depiction of complex information in "glyph" displays for unmanned aerial vehicles, and how people visually search for information on web pages. LAVA seeks to apply cutting-edge theory to real-world problems in an effort to advance both basic and applied vision science.


National Institute of Aviation Research (NIAR)

JPEG ImageJPEG ImageThe Aviation Psychology and Human Factors Lab of NIAR provides practical psychology to the needs of aviation and defense industries, government authorities like the FAA and the NTSB, the U.S. military, and a great variety of other institutions. NIAR’s applied and theoretical research projects are designed to meet the immediate needs of their clients with regard to Human Information Processing, Human Computer Interaction, Automation, and Human Ergonomics.


Software Usability Research Lab (SURL)

JPEG ImageJPEG ImageSURL is an applied research laboratory that conducts research related to human-computer interaction (HCI). In addition to research, the lab provides usability evaluation services and interface design services to the software development community and trains students on HCI with real-world projects. SURL has worked on a contract basis for many Fortune 500/1000 companies related to usability and HCI issues including Microsoft, Dell, Motorola, Coca-Cola, Textron, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Coleman, and Benchmark Brands. The current focus is website design and usability, mobile device usability and methods of text input, eye tracking of websites and mobile applications, and voice recognition on mobile devices.


Training Research and Applied Cognitive Engineering (TRACE)

JPEG ImageJPEG ImageTRACE lab is focused on utilizing cutting edge technology for applied training and assessment across military, medical, and civilian domains. One focus of this lab is the use of augmented reality training for learning anatomical structures; augmented reality training for learning to dierentiate between highly similar combat vehicles; and augmented reality training for learning musical instruments according to the new STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) model of education. TRACE lab investigates topics related to team work in medical settings, specifically through partnering with Via Christi’s pathology department and Children’s Mercy Hospital. Finally, investigations will also be focused on future Human-Robot Teams, and studies will utilize COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) video game systems to simulate and measure HRI teams.


Visual Perception and Cognition (VPC) Lab

JPEG ImageJPEG ImageVPC’s research investigates the visual perception of depth and shape in stereopsis, distance perception of 3-D objects in the real world, driving performance and visual information processing, and age-related dierences in perception and cognition. The VPC lab is particularly interested in improving older individuals’ visual performance through training (e.g., perceptual learning). The goal of their research is to understand the mechanisms underlying visual perception and cognition and to extend this research into applied areas such as driving, especially for the aged population.


Address Inquiries To:

Dr. Barbara Chaparro
Coordinator, Human Factors Psychology
Department of Psychology
Wichita State University
1845 Fairmount
Wichita , KS 67260-0034
barbara.chaparro@wichita.edu