Om Elements of Human Performance
This book presents a review of research on reaction processes and attention as it has evolved over the last 40 years in the context of the information processing tradition in cognitive psychology. It is argued and demonstrated that issues of reaction processes and attention are closely interconnected. Their common conceptualization can be seen in terms of limited processing capacity on the one hand, and stage analysis on the other. This volume concludes that, at present, a stage analysis metaphor offers better prospects as a conceptual starting point; the limited capacity metaphor was strongly tied to the digital computers of the 60s. The emphasis of the book is on behavioral research, but summaries of related findings on evoked potentials and other psychophysiological variables are included as well. From this perspective, it may be of interest to neuropsychologists who want to learn about the present state of cognitive experimental paradigms. Elements of Human Performance also addresses the question of the relationship between basic research and applications in the said areas. This is particularly urgent in view of the now common notion that the results of many simplified laboratory tasks may be artifactual and of little applied value. A back-to-back research strategy is outlined to assess the validity of basic research results for real-life tasks.