Human Performance Models and System Design

  • A. F. Sanders


The paper discusses aspects of modelling human performance with respect to establishing human limits to be taken into account in system design. It is noted that the term “model” is used in several ways, ranging from an imprecise reference to an explanatory concept, to well defined and computer-simulated general purpose process models. The simulations have the advantage that they allow a full simulation of the complete system; validation is their bottleneck, in particular since behavioural science is not characterised by a variety of well established laws. The weaker models suggest many heuristics for system design which lead to combinations of task analysis and checklist techniques. In addition, dynamic task simulation provides fruitful checks of the appropriateness of a system. The human factor is more dependent on weak models as the system is more concerned with higher cognitive activities, such as in C-3 systems. It is noted that energetical and motivational human limits are often ignored although systems are not exclusively meant for optimal circumstances.


Human Factor Human Performance Task Analysis Human Information Processing Weak Model 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson, J.R. (1981) “Cognitive Skills and Their Acquisition.” Erlbaum, Hillsdale.Google Scholar
  2. Baron, S. and Levison, W.H. (1980) The optimal control model: Status and future directions, In: “Proceedings of the IEEE”, Boston.Google Scholar
  3. Boff, K.R., Kaufman, L., and Thomas, J.P. (1986) “Handbook of Perception and Human Performance,” Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  4. Boff, K.R. and Lincoln, J.E (1988) “Engineering Data Compendium: Human Perception and Performance,” Harry G. Armstrong Aerospace Medical Research Laboratory, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.Google Scholar
  5. Broadbent, D.E. (1977) Levels, hierarchies and the locus of control, The Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 29, 181–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chubb, G.P., Laughery, K.R., and Pritsker, A.A.B. (1987) Simulating manned systems. In: G. Salvendy (Ed.) “Handbook of Human Factors”, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Drury, C.G., Paramore, B., van Cott, H.P., Grey, S.M., and Corlett, E.N. (1987) Task analysis, In: G. Salvendy (Ed.) “Handbook of Human Factors”, Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  8. Drury, C.G. (1983) Task analysis methods in industry, Applied Ergonomics, 111, 29–38.Google Scholar
  9. Hannen, P. (1987) Systematik in der Reihenfolge der Beobachtungen Mehrerer Unabhangiger Binarer Stochasten, Diplomarbiet, RWTH Aachen.Google Scholar
  10. Hockey, G.J., Gaillard, A.W.K., and Coles, M.G.H. (1986) “Energetics and Human Information Processing,” Nijhoff, Dordrecht.Google Scholar
  11. Lane, N.E., Strieb, M.I., Glenn, F.A., and Wherry, R.A. (1981) The human operator simulator: An overview. In: J. Moraal and K.F. Kraiss (Eds.) “Manned System Design: Methods, Equipment and Applications,” Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  12. McCormick, E.J. and Sanders, M.S. (1982) “Human Factors in Engineering and Design,” McGraw-Hill, New York.Google Scholar
  13. Meister, D. (1987) A cognitive theory of design and requirements for a behavioral design aid, In: W.B. Rouse and K.R. Boff (Eds.) “System Design: Behavioral Perspectives on Designers, Tools, and Organizations,” North Holland, Amsterdam.Google Scholar
  14. Parsons, H.M. (1972) “Man-Machine System Experiments,” The John Hopkins Press, London.Google Scholar
  15. Pew, R.W. and Baron, S. (1983) Perspectives on human performance modelling, Automatica, 19, 663–676.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Poulton, E.C. (1981) Human manual control, In: V.B. Brooks (Ed) “Handbook of Physiology: The Nervous System,” 1337–1387, American Physiological Society, Bethesda.Google Scholar
  17. Raaymakers, J.G.W. and Shiffrin, R.M. (1981) Search of associative memory, Psychological Review, 88, 93–134.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Rasmussen, J. and Rouse, W.B. (Eds) (1981) “Human Detection and Diagnosis of System Failures,” Plenum, New York.Google Scholar
  19. Rouse, W.B. (1981) Human computer interaction in the control of dynamic systems, Computer Surveys, 13, 71–99.MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Rouse, W.B. and Cody, W.J. (1989) This Volume.Google Scholar
  21. Salvendy, G. (1987) “Handbook of Human Factors,” Wiley, New York.Google Scholar
  22. Sanders, A.F. (1979) Some remarks on mental load, In: N. Moray ( Ed.) “Mental Work Load,” Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Sanders, A.F. (1983) Towards a model of stress and human performance, Acta Psychologica, 53 61–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sanders, A.F. (1984) Structure and interconnections between human performance limits, In: “Performance Limits,” NATO meeting, Toronto.Google Scholar
  25. Sanders, A.F. (1987) Problems of a novice: some introspective observations, In: G. Salvendy (Ed.), “Second Conference on Human-Computer Interaction,” Hawaii.Google Scholar
  26. Senders, J.W. (1983) “Visual Scanning Processes,” Tilburg University Press, Tilburg.Google Scholar
  27. Shiffrin, R.M. and Schneider, W. (1977) Controlled and automatic human information processing, Psychological Review, 84, 127–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. van Duren, L. and Sanders, A.F. (in press) On the robustness of the additive factors stage structure in blocked and mixed choice reaction designs, Acta Psychologica.Google Scholar
  29. Welford, A.T. (1967) Single channel operation in the brain, Acta Psychologica, 27, 5–21.Google Scholar
  30. Wickens, C.D. (1984) “Engineering Psychology and Human Performance,” Charles E. Merrill, Columbus.Google Scholar
  31. Wright, G., (1985) “Behavioral Decision Making,” Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. F. Sanders
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRWTH AachenAachenGermany

Personalised recommendations