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2017 Webinar Profile

Putting Humans Into Control: The Dynamics of Experience
Presented by John M. Flach, Wright State University
Wednesday, March 29, 2017

A fundamental theme of the recent book by John Flach and Fred Voorhorst, What Matters? is that human experience is a joint function of mind and matter and that there are properties at the level of experience that are fundamental. In other words, the authors make the claim that properties of experience as a whole (e.g., stability) play a fundamental role in determining the properties of the parts. This insight is a common thread linking control theory, the triadic model of semiotics, ecological psychology, situated cognition, ecological rationality, gestalt psychology, and embodied cognition. In addition, this thread is an important motivation for the shift in focus of designers from products to experience as the target for design (e.g., UX design). In this webinar, Flach will illustrate how control theory and research on human-machine systems leads us to this conclusion and will discuss the broader implications for an applied cognitive science.


John M. Flach
John M. Flach is a professor of psychology at Wright State University. He received his PhD in human experimental psychology from The Ohio State University in 1984. From 1984 to 1990 John was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, where he held joint appointments in the Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, the Psychology Department, and the Institute of Aviation. Joining the Psychology Department at Wright State in 1990, John served as department chair from 2004 to 2013. He teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in the areas of applied cognitive psychology and human factors. John is interested in general issues of coordination and control in sociotechnical systems. Specific research topics have included visual control of locomotion, interface design, decision making, and sociotechnical systems. John is particularly interested in applications of this research in the domains of aviation, medicine, highway safety, and assistive technologies. In addition to more than 175 scientific publications, John is a coauthor of three books: Control Theory for Humans (with Richard Jagacinski), Display and Interface Design (with Kevin Bennett), and What Matters? (with Fred Vorhoorst). John also recently began a blog, Perspicacity,