Category Archives: Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors

CLS Faculty and Students Attend Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Conference

Nine faculty and students at conference
Pictured left to right: Samantha Smith (Fac), Margo Woller-Carter (alum), Kelly Steelman (Fac), Alexandra Watral (MS Stud), Abigail Kuehne (UG Stud, Accelerated MS), Shruti Amre (Ph.D. Stud), Susie Amato-Henderson (Fac), Lavanya Rajesh Kumar (Ph.D. Stud). Missing from photo: Dr. Beth Veinott (Fac), Kaitlyn Roose (Ph.D. Student)

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences supported the travel of 9 faculty and students to attend this year’s Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Conference in Seattle October 28 – November 1, 2019.

We are beyond proud of this group of fine people, and ESPECIALLY love that we are not the “typical” faces of scientists in this field, or at Michigan Tech.

Six Tech undergraduate and graduate students attended and met folks from a variety of government and industry research labs, presented the ACSHF department poster, and all around enjoyed Seattle.

Dr. Elizabeth Veinott organized a panel on Training and Transfer: Exploring issues of embedded training in complex systems with industry and Coast Guard partners.  As systems become smarter, development cycles are accelerated, and operational requirements are more dynamic, new ET models, methods, and evaluation strategies are needed.  Dr. Veinott talked about her research developing embedded decision training for different operational teams.  Kaitlyn Roose, one of her PhD students, also attended HFES before heading off to have Esport discussions at BlizzCon.

Dr. Samantha Smith served as co-chair of a session on the use of physiological measures in cognitive engineering and decision making and also presented a research lecture on the relationship between cerebral hemodynamics and sustained attention. In addition to the keynote presentations, Dr. Smith particularly enjoyed attending discussion panels centered around systems and strategies for promoting human factors teaching and learning, and strategies for enhancing equality in the field of human factors and ergonomics.

Dr. Kelly Steelman served as the chair of a session on Perception and Safety on the Roads. As a 2019 HFES Science Policy Fellow, she also attended trainings with the HFES Government Relations Committee and Lewis-Burke Associates to learn more about government affairs and opportunities to impact the policy process. A highlight of the trip was attending a VIP tour of the Boeing Everett Factory to see the many aspects of human factors in aircraft manufacturing and workplace safety.


Kaitlyn Roose Discusses The Psychology of Esports in APA Podcast

Russell Shilling, PhD, guest host for Speaking of Psychology and chief scientific officer for the American Psychological Association, sat down at APA2019 to talk with Shawn Doherty, PhD, and Kaitlyn Roose, MS, to discuss the psychology of esports, the benefits of gaming on higher level cognition and the culture of video games.

If you would like to listen to the full podcast, click here.  The link also provides a full transcript and video of the interview.


Kaitlyn Roose named Director of Esports at Michigan Tech

 

Kaitlyn Roose has been named the Director of Esports at Michigan Tech, Director of Athletics Suzanne Sanregret announced on Monday (Nov. 4). Roose is the current President and Co-Founder of the Esports Club at Michigan Tech, and a mentor for the Husky Game Development Enterprise. She is pursuing her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors Psychology.

“Kaitlyn brings vast experience in gaming—including scouting, analysis, research and competitive play—to her new role as the Director of Esports. Additionally, she was a softball student-athlete during her undergraduate collegiate career,” Sanregret said. “I would like to thank the search committee for recruiting such an excellent candidate. We are thrilled to welcome Kaitlyn to the Michigan Tech Athletics family, and I look forward to working with her as we grow our esports program.”

“I firmly believe that video games are changing our world,” Roose said. “I came to Michigan Tech to do game research, and I feel blessed to have been heavily supported in this endeavor. I love the interdisciplinary work my department is doing, I appreciate the collaborative and empowering environment it has provided. I intend on creating that culture within the Esports program, inspiring students to challenge themselves and each other while succeeding inside and outside of the classroom. Suzanne and Joel (Isaacson) have done an incredible job doing industry research, interfacing with other programs, and evaluating the potential impact of the program at MTU.”

Roose has over seven years of competitive gaming experience and has achieved respective ranks in the top 10 percent of the player base in Overwatch, Heroes of the Storm and League of Legends. She has scouted opponents for two playoff contender teams, analyzing both individual and team levels. She also has experience writing about, streaming and shoutcasting Esports while also serving as the primary spokesperson and visionary for the Esports Club. Under her term as President, the club has doubled in active members and number of games.

“I’ve always wanted to work in a position that allows me to be a leader, serve in a mentorship capacity and continue doing meaningful research,” added Roose. “I am honored to have been chosen, and I thank the committee for having confidence in me and allowing me to finish my degree in the process. What people say is true: You never leave Michigan Tech, and being a Husky is always a part of you. I’m excited to begin my career with the support of my Michigan Tech family and spearhead this program as a demonstration of how Michigan Tech is truly paving the way for a better future.”

Roose completed her Master of Science in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors in December 2018 from Michigan Tech. She conducts her research as a part of the Games, Learning, and Decisions Lab in the Cognitive and Learning Sciences Department. She has conducted multiple studies investigating decision making, problem solving and attention in games and has disseminated the results at several international conferences (CHI Play, Naturalistic Decision Making, APA). Roose has been on an Esports panel and interviewed by the Chief Scientific Officer of the APA about psychology in Esports (LINK).

Roose played two seasons of varsity softball and two seasons of club rugby at Gannon University while pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She earned NCAA DII Individual and Team Academic Achievement Honors, as well as National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) Scholar-Athlete Honors, and was named a PSAC Scholar-Athlete while playing third base. She earned Gannon’s Presidential Scholarship, graduated Summa Cum Laude and was one of 10 finalists for Gannon’s Medal of Honor.

Michigan Tech became the first public school in the state to announce a varsity Esports team in August 2019. Competition will begin with the 2020-21 academic year. Current Michigan Tech students or prospective students interested in being a part of Esports at Michigan Tech should click here.

 


ACSHF Students Present Research at Society for Neuroscience Convention

Dr. Kevin Trewartha, Director of the Aging, Cognition, and Action Lab, accompanied by two of his current PhD candidates, Bridget Durocher and Isaac Flint, attended the Society for Neuroscience convention to present their research. This year represented the 50th annual convention, and it was held in Chicago, IL. This convention is one of the largest international conventions for the study of neuroscience with speakers and exhibitors from all around the world. Opportunities to meet Nobel Prize winner in Physiology or Medicine in 2000 Eric Kandel for his work on signal transduction in the nervous system, global industry leaders in neuroscience technology, and leaders on the forefront of brain research were all part of this year’s experience.

Bridget Durocher presented preliminary findings of her research investigating whether acquisition, and short- and long-term retention measures of motor learning can distinguish between amnestic mild cognitive impairment (MCI), Alzehimer’s disease (AD), and healthy aging. The ultimate goal of this work is to potentially supplement existing neuropsychological measures for diagnosing AD. The need for additional or new techniques to diagnose AD in its earliest stages is essential in extending the quality of life for our future generations. The current standard testing procedures often miss the early onset phase of the disease process, leading many years of missed opportunities to manage the disease effectively. In the current project we are investigating whether the early stages of motor learning are affected by MCI and early AD, and whether those patients exhibit additional impairments in short-term (i.e., within session) and long-term (after a 24-hour delay) retention of a newly acquired motor skill. Initial results are encouraging, and support our hypothesis, but it should be stressed that these data are very preliminary.

Isaac Flint presented findings from work investigating whether younger and older adults differ in the ability to make optimal corrective actions for collision avoidance during reaching movements. This work showed that when making motor corrections in response to visual feedback perturbations, both older and younger adults are equally able to make optimal decisions when correcting their movements to avoid collisions with obstacles. However, older adults make less efficient movements indicated by longer movement times, exhibit increased rates of collision, and delayed electrophysiological responses to the visual feedback perturbations. The efficiency with which older adults made corrective actions was also correlated with cognitive measures of executive control, and processing speed. 

In addition to attending the conference Bridget and Isaac took some time to explore the city, learning to navigate Chicago’s public transportation, and visiting various spots including the Harold Washington Library Center of the Chicago Public Library, Little Italy, Millennium Park, downtown shops, and the lakefront. Having a diverse population to network with along with the unique cultural opportunities Chicago has to offer made this convention an excellent opportunity to explore both cognitive neuroscience and human factors. 



Dr. Stacy Keynote Presenter at Childhood Development Conference in Germany

Dr. Peter Stacy received and accepted an invitation to provide a keynote presentation at the 18th Annual International Conference on Attachment and Early Childhood Development.  The conference took place in Ulm, Germany between Sept. 13 to Sept. 15, 2019.  It attracted over 900 attendees from throughout Europe. In introducing Dr. Stacy, the conference administrator spoke of his 20+ year research effort as gaining national and international recognition due to its unique approach of using an intrafamily research design in identifying the role that early childhood attachment plays in differentiating a resilient sibling from his/her non-resilient sibling.

Dr. Stacy’s presentation included a review of his research findings followed by discussion of effective treatment strategies that seek to address early childhood attachment disorders.  The presentation closed with a brief question and answer session.


Dr. Kelly Steelman to participate in HFES fellowship program

Dr. Kelly Steelman (CLS) has been selected from a competitive pool of applicants to participate in the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) Science Policy Fellowship program.

The HFES Science Policy Fellows (SPF) program provides a valuable opportunity for HFES members to learn how to successfully advocate for human factors and ergonomics on the national stage. SPF Participants will receive extensive training in public affairs, advocacy and outreach to be provided by Lewis-Burke Associates and the HFES Government Relations Committee during the HFES Annual Meeting. They will also participate in an annual spring Capitol Hill Day in Washington, D.C., including a Hill visit training session and a policy-related speaker prior to the visit day. They will be invited to attend monthly conference calls with Lewis-Burke and the HFES Government Relations Committee covering ongoing events and opportunities for HFES to engage in policy decisions.

Following an initial one-year term in the SPF program, each program graduate will commit to two years of service in an outreach capacity. They will create a customized plan that may include continued participation in the Capitol Hill day and interactions with policymakers in Washington, DC, working at the local/state level, serving on the GRC or a subcommittee, and other forms of outreach developed by each participant. HFES SPF participants and graduates will form the basis of a future brain trust with expertise in outreach creating a pipeline of politically engaged and knowledgeable members within HFES.

Copied from Tech Today page for June 17th 2019.


CLS Congratulates Thomas Offer Westort

We are happy to announce that Tom successfully defended his Master’s Thesis titled “Attitudes About Acceptable Risk in the Context of the Biodiversity Crisis” on April 12th. Crafting and enforcing conservation policy requires making normative judgements about what levels of risk are acceptable. These judgements include crucial decisions that impact which species qualify as “endangered.” If a government’s policies are going to represent the values of the public they govern, then public attitudes should be understood. Unfortunately, essentially nothing is known about public attitudes as they pertain to acceptable risk and the biodiversity crisis.

Read more about Tom’s research below.

My research aims to address this gap using data from an internet-based survey (n=1050). I focused on the Endangered Species Act of 1973 which defines an endangered species as “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.” Because a species’ risk of extinction increases with decreasing geographic range, the phrase “significant portion of its range” requires a judgement about what level of risk is acceptable. I then examined how the public’s attitudes regarding risk differs both from the guidance provided by conservationists and the practices of government agencies. I also explored the extent to which variation in attitudes could be explained by relevant knowledge, social identity, level of education, personality, moral foundations, and numeracy. I then used structural equation modeling to model the relationships between predictors.


Honoring Darnishia Slade as this Week’s Teaching Showcase Member

Darnishia Slade, manager of Global Engagement Programs and ACSHF graduate student, has been selected by Lorelle Meadows, the Dean of Pavlis Honors college (PHC), to be this week’s showcase member!

Slade is a great role model for students. She brings encouragement and an engaging learning experiences to students in the classroom. Slade has been a part of the Honors college for sometime. she teaches the first Honors Seminar and the Capstone courses for students in the Global Leadership Pathway for students pursuing their Leadership minor. She continuously explores ways to improve the classroom experience and her excellence sense of student experience likely comes from her previous work in the academic and student affairs departments of the University. Meadows states “Darnishia Slade brings creativity and compassion into her teaching. She has influenced students both inside and outside the classroom, and uses these experiences and insights to affect change in our programs.”

Slade will be recognized at the end-of-term luncheon and is eligible for one of three new teaching awards to be given by the William G. Jackson Center for Teaching and Learning this summer.


CLS Congratulates PhD Candidate Lavanya Rajesh Kumar

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences would like to congratulate PhD student Lavanya Rajesh Kumar for her acceptance into Yale University’s Innovation to Impact Program!
Lavanya was selected for the prestigious program that is focused on entrepreneurship training in substance abuse research. Innovation to Impact at Yale was developed as a national program to provide education, mentorship, and seed funding to innovators. The program is open to scholars interested in both exploring what it takes to bring a product to market and applying creative solutions to combat substance abuse through the use of pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, biomedical devices, app development, behavioral interventions, and public policy. The goal of the program is to help participants translate innovations from the lab to the real world.
Lavanya is currently attending the week long training program to work on her idea to develop an addiction prevention based product.
Click here to learn more about the Innovation to Impact program.