Category: Psychology

The Human Factor, Design with the Human in Mind

The 2021 Michigan Tech Magazine is Live! And highlights the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences’ new BS program – Human Factors.

How can people use technology to improve work, society, and life? Students in Michigan Tech’s human factors program set out to answer that question by studying human abilities and limitations, and how they apply to design. In one of the first undergraduate programs of its kind in the nation, students explore how humans use, interact with, and think and feel about technology, and investigate the roles both humans and machines will play in solving the problems of tomorrow.

“Many of today’s college students will eventually work in jobs and industries that don’t yet exist,” says Kelly Steelman, department chair and associate professor in the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences. “We intentionally designed the human factors curriculum to encourage students to develop both depth and breadth of skills. Human factors students will take courses from across campus and engage in multidisciplinary, project-based work to pick up the diverse skill sets needed to succeed in a rapidly changing world.”

To read the full story see section: 1400 Townsend Drive, and to learn more about our Human Factors program visit https://www.mtu.edu/cls/undergraduate/human-factors/


ACSHF Forum: Monday, October 11

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host speaker Stefka Hristova  (Associate Professor Humanities) at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum. The presentation, “Emptied Faces: In Search For An Algorithmic Punctum”, will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday (Oct. 11) in Meese 109 and via Zoom.

Abstract: In his seminal work Camera Lucida, Roland Barthes wrote that in photographic portraits “[t]he air of a face is unanalyzable.” This argument connects to the larger theory of the photographic punctum, a laceration of time that signals the existence of a subject and forecasts its death. The punctum of the traditional portrait quickly became complicated as portraiture fueled composite portraiture linked to human typologies as exemplified by the work of Galton, Bertillon, and Lombrosso. This practice of combining and reconfiguring faces has found new currency in contemporary algorithmic culture where human faces are recorded, dissected, and recombined into seamless deep fake faces by what Deleuze and Guattari call “faciality machines.” This talk traces the articulation of faces in predictive algorithms through an investigation of the UTKFace data set. Further, it analyzes the rise of deep fake portraits through an engagement with Philip Wang’s This Person Does Not Exist and Mitra Azar’s DoppelGANger projects. This harnessing of portraits and therefore of human faces as raw material has been challenged in a counter project titled This Person Exists, which exposes the real people behind Wang’s project. This work brings back notions of personhood and humanity by revealing the original photographs as well as their authors and subjects and points to the ways in which algorithms feed on and erase humanity. I situate two additional sites of resistance to the decomposition of the human face: namely Deleuze and Guattari’s concept of “unknown tracts” and Barthes’ notion of the photographic punctum.


ACSHF Forum: Monday, September 13

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host speaker Cindy Miller (staff engineer, Harley-Davidson Motor Company) at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum. The presentation, “Human Factors in Aviation, Healthcare and Motorcycles,” will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday (Sept. 13) via Zoom. Dr. Miller will present a summary of human factors engineering projects in aviation, healthcare, and motorcycles. She will discuss some of the tools, methodology, and design processes used for these projects, as well as provide a short review of her career path.

ACSHF Forum flyer


Dr. Samantha Smith is Exploring Effects of Completing Physically-Demanding Tasks Simultaneously with Memory Tasks

You’ve heard that people are bad at multitasking, but have you thought about how well you process and remember information while exercising? Or how a heavy cognitive load impacts your workout performance?

Dr. Samantha Smith’s lab is currently conducting research to explore the bidirectional effects of completing physically-demanding tasks while simultaneously engaging in different types of memory tasks.

Want to participate? Here’s information on how to sign up!


Psychology Student Tyrell Buckley Named Krampade All-American Scholar

Tyrell Buckley, a senior Psychology student and Michigan Tech hockey player, has been named a Krampade All-American Scholar for the 2020-2021 school year. He is one of nine Huskies who were awarded the honor by the American Hockey Coaches Association. Congratulations, Tyrell!

Find the full announcement on the Michigan Tech Athletics website.


Congratulations to our graduates!

The CLS faculty and staff are so proud of our latest group of Michigan Tech graduates! We hope that you all find time to enjoy yourselves and celebrate everything that you have accomplished. Please, keep in touch about your future endeavors!

Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors MS degrees were awarded to Anne Linja, Brooke Poyhonen, Kathryn Maki, and Sam Herbert

Psychology BS degrees were awarded to Erin Casey, Kayla Conn, Ellie Hirvi, Bailee Kimbel, Tim Raymond, Elizabeth Sundblad, Eddie Swagger, Ashley VanHandel, and Emily Wisz

Pictured below:

Faculty: Shane Mueller, Elizabeth Veinott, Kelly Steelman, Kevin Trewartha, Samantha Smith, Susie Amato-Henderson

ACSHF MS Graduates: Brooke Poyhonen, Kathryn Maki, Sam Herbert

Psychology Graduates: Eddie Swager, Bailee Kimbel, Kayla Conn


2021 Summer Youth Programs are Open!

Open to students in grades 9 through 11, Michigan Tech’s Summer Youth Programs now include an Engineering Psychology and Human Factors Course. Students can experience how psychology and engineering combine to design products, equipment, and systems that improve everyday life. The course will be held from July 11 to July 17.

For more information, click the link here.


Dr. Steelman Guest Blogs about Psychology at Michigan Tech

Dr. Kelly Steelman was invited to be a guest blogger for a website dedicated to promoting the advantages of attending smaller colleges. More specifically, she wrote about why Michigan Tech should be considered if a prospective student is interested in pursuing a psychology degree.

Dr. Steelman highlighted the opportunities and advantages of our CLS department, such as the low student to faculty ratio, the locally based internship program, and the enriching research experiences. Students are given the competitive edge of a large school but with the small school touch. Also, she emphasized Michigan Tech’s unique offering to study psychology and explore its connection to engineering or computer science.

Here is the link if you would like to read the blog post in its entirety.