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HFES News and Bulletin

Amy R. Pritchett Appointed Editor in Chief of Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making
Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is proud to announce the appointment of Amy R. Pritchett to the position of editor in chief of the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making (http://www.hfes.org/Publications/ProductDetail.aspx?ProductID=64). Pritchett, an associate professor of cognitive engineering in the Georgia Tech School of Aerospace Engineering, earned SciD, MA, and BA degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has an impressive professional background that includes a two-year stint as director of NASA’s Aviation Safety Program.

JCEDM, published since 2007, differs from most journals by supporting research that grapples with the messy, hard-to-define, and difficult-to-study realities that confront humans as they attempt to interact effectively with complex environments. The journal embraces many aspects of human problem solving that have been largely neglected by experimental psychology, including situation awareness, attention and uncertainty management, solution validation, adaptation, coordination and shared awareness in teams, and metacognition.

Pritchett was exposed to the aviation field from an early age, which stimulated her interest in aerospace engineering and launched her career in cognitive engineering. "I am a pilot from a family of pilots, and aerospace engineering seemed like a logical choice of career," she says. "It did not take long, however, for me to discover that I am more interested in the process of piloting an aircraft – and the activities of the pilot – than in studying the structure of the aircraft alone."

Her interests in cognitive engineering reach far beyond aerospace science and application, however, and she takes on the challenge of leading JCEDM with enthusiasm, vast knowledge in the discipline, and a fresh perspective.

"I am routinely flummoxed by my engineering colleagues’ well-intended attempts to model the human as a differential equation," she says. "The field of cognitive engineering must be defined by whether it provides rigorous, repeatable methods integrating the human factor into the design of technology and operations."

Pritchett praises the hard work of her predecessor and founding Editor-in-Chief Mica R. Endsley to position JCEDM as an ambassador to the cognitive engineering community as a whole, not just to the HFES membership. Pritchett plans to further Endsley’s work by increasing the influence of JCEDM beyond the HF/E discipline. "I believe the impact of JCEDM can be increased by articulating its contribution not only to human factors/ergonomics researchers but to researchers in other domains who do not currently turn to HFES journals for insights into the integration of technical design through an understanding of human cognitive performance."

One of Pritchett’s long-term goals for JCEDM is to bring more visibility to the contributions that HF/E science has made to society in general. "There are big problems that human factors can contribute to, yet human factors as a domain is often seen as limited to experimental methods and after-the-design studies," she says. "This gap establishes a unique and vital role for JCEDM."

Pritchett begins her term with the fall 2011 issue. Submissions are welcome at http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jcedm. View the instructions for authors at http://www.hfes.org/web/PubPages/JCEDMauthorinfo.pdf.

For more information, contact HFES Communications Director Lois Smith (lois@hfes.org, 310/384-1811).

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The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is the world's largest nonprofit individual-member, multidisciplinary scientific association for human factors/ergonomics professionals, with more than 4,500 members globally. HFES members include psychologists and other scientists, designers, and engineers, all of whom have a common interest in designing systems and equipment to be safe and effective for the people who operate and maintain them. Watch science news stories about other HF/E topics at the HFES Web site.

"Human Factors and Ergonomics: People-Friendly Design Through Science and Engineering"

Plan to attend the HFES 55th Annual Meeting, September 19-23: http://www.hfes.org/web/HFESMeetings/2011annualmeeting.html

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