Computer Visualization in Participatory and Cognitive Engineering

Detta är en avhandling från Ergonomics and Aerosol Technology, Department of Design Sciences, Lund University

Sammanfattning: This thesis tells the initiation story of a computer visualization methodology and a participatory engineering methodology. The two methodologies are tightly coupled and for the purpose of this thesis, as a unit, named Computer Visualization in Par-ticipatory Engineering (VIPE). VIPE aims at a concurrent focus on technical and economical as well as ergonomic demands, by means of advancing communication, cooperation, and learning in engineering and design processes. VIPE has evolved mainly through action research: in six case studies, comprising planning projects in small and midsize manufacturing industries; and in a planning workshop addressed to companies and occupational health services in the manufacturing industry. The research has been multidisciplinary, involving architects, engineers, and psycholo-gists. The results indicate that VIPE teams, comprising people affected by the engineering process or outcome, as well as people who have an important contribution to make, promote cooperation and learning: i.e. exchange of opinions, utilization of shared knowledge and experience, public testing of current reality and future plans, and a concurrent focus on technical, economical, and ergonomic demands. Furthermore, computer visualization seems to serve as a common language, promoting communi-cation and shared mental models in the VIPE teams. The theoretical framework for VIPE is based on: visualization interpreted in terms of mental representations and Piaget’s developmental psychology, participatory the-ory and practice, a naturalistic team decision making perspective on the concepts of communication and cooperation, Kolb’s experiential learning theory for studying learning processes, and action research to seek knowledge that will serve action. In addition to VIPE, the thesis narrates the creation and experimental evaluation, i.e. the cognitive engineering process, of prototype computer visualization – an op-erator process interface. The aim is to compare the efficiency of a structural and a functional operator process interface in disturbance handling and steering, with re-gard to operator training and operator process control. It seems as if the principles derived for the design of a functional OPIf in some re-spects can improve operator performance in process industry, especially concerning dynamic steering tasks. The theoretical framework is based on operator mental representations in terms of mental images and mental models, as well as operator process control regarded in the context of dynamic decision making.

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