On how constraints shape action
2005 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Understanding how joint systems of people and artifacts perform goal-directed action in a dynamic environment is essential for improving and supporting work. The literature on cognitive systems engineering and its related disciplines identifies the concept of constraint as an essential element in the analysis of systems in dynamic environments. These disciplines however offer differing definitions and ascribe different roles to constraints in (cognitive) systems analysis. This thesis distills from these perspectives on constraints the hypothesis that constraints shape action. It investigates empirically how constraints shape action in studies of two domains characterized by dynamic environments: driving and command and control.
The first study investigates the effect of the constraint of path width on steering behavior. It reviews research on the "law of steering"- the quantitative relationship between human temporal performance and the spatial characteristics of the movement path. It then extends the study of the law of steering to driving in virtual environments, within the field of human-computer interaction. Participants drove a virtual vehicle in a virtual environment on paths whose shape and width were systematically manipulated. Results showed that the law of steering indeed applies to locomotion in virtual environments. On average both the mean and the maximum speeds of the participants were linearly proportional to path width. Such regularity in human performance provides a quantitative tool for (3D) human machine interface design and evaluation.
The second study describes a method for the recognition of constraints in network-based command and control, and illustrates its application in an experimental study in a command and control microworld. The method uses goals-means task analysis to extract the essential variables that describe the behavior of a command and control team. It juxtaposes these variables in state space representations illustrating constraints and regions for opportunities for action. A series of examples shows how state spaces plots of experimental data can aid in the description of behavior vis-a-vis spatial and temporal resource constraints, and discusses how state space representations may be used to improve control in network-based command and control settings.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköpings universitet , 2005. , 51 p.
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Thesis, ISSN 0280-7971 ; 1221
Engineering and Technology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-31269Local ID: 17027ISBN: 91-85457-94-9OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-31269DiVA: diva2:252092
List of papers