2020 Engineering Psychology

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Academic unit or major
Undergraduate major in Industrial Engineering and Economics
Umemuro Hiroyuki 
Course component(s)
Lecture / Exercise
Mode of instruction
Day/Period(Room No.)
Mon7-8(W933)  Thr7-8(W933)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
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Course description and aims

In order to consider interactions between technology and human, it is essential to understand fundamental characteristics of humans. In this course, we learn fundamentals of psychological knowledge, including perception, cognition, and execution which are especially important in production and interface design, in relation with practical applications.

Student learning outcomes

By the end of this course, students are expected to
(1) understand fundamental knowledge of cognitive process of humans.
(2) understand fundamental knowledge in application of human cognitive characteristics for industrial applications.
(3) be able to consider rational and irrational aspects of humans.
(4) understand psychology as a scientific approach, as well as methodology if psychological experiments.


cognitive science, cognitive psychology, memory, perception, attention

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

Active discussion is appreciated in lectures. We have one mid-term exam and one final exam.
Following general guidance and historical introduction, Part 1 (weeks 3 to 12) deals with cognitivism (information processing approach). Despite a variety of criticisms, this approach aiming to model human cognition as information processing system is still providing fundamentals for engineering applications when modeling a human. Thus we learn cognitivism as classic fundamental in this field.
In Part 2 (weeks 13 to 15) deals with post-cognitivism, including criticism towards classic cognitivism and newer approaches and topics such as emotion. Besides, students learn fundamental knowledge about psychological experiments, and participate in actual experiments for further understanding.
Exercises and small experiments are also introduced in lectures for deeper understanding of the topics.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 General guidance To understand goals, methods, and grading of this course.
Class 2 Introduction: How psychology became science. Understand what is scientific method, and how psychology has developed toward science historically.
Class 3 Cognitive process: Overview Understand overview of cognitive process.
Class 4 Perception (1): Signal detection theory Understand signal detection theory.
Class 5 Perception (2): Vigilance task Understand characteristics of vigilance task based on the knowledge of signal detection theory.
Class 6 Attention (1): Attention and its variation Understand cognitive resource and attention, and learn variations of attention.
Class 7 Attention (2): Visual sampling + mid term exam Understand characteristics of visual sampling, and their application for design.
Class 8 Memory (1): Working memory and long-term memory Understand characteristics of two kinds of memories.
Class 9 Memory (2): Limitation of working memory Understand limitations in capacity and duration of working memory.
Class 10 Decision making Understand decision making process of human. Learn various heuristics and biases.
Class 11 Response selection (1): Response time and information processing speed Learn influencing factors on response time, and Hick-Hyman law.
Class 12 Response selection (2): Limitation of information throughput model Understand limitation of information throughput model.
Class 13 Psychological experiment: Lecture Learn fundamental knowledge about experiments in psychology.
Class 14 Criticism towards cognitivisim and new research directions. Learn criticisms toward cognitivism and new research movement in this century.

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


Wickens, C. D., & Hollands, J. G. (2000). Engineering Psychology and Human Performance (3rd ed.). Prentice Hall.

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Norman, D. A. (2004). Emotional Design. Basic Books.
Additional class materials are provided when necessary.

Assessment criteria and methods

Mid-term exam: 40%
Final exam: 40%
Class participation: 20%

Related courses

  • IEE.C202 : Industrial Engineering
  • IEE.C304 : Ergonomics

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

Students must have successfully completed Industrial Engineering (IEE.C202) or have equivalent knowledge.

Contact information (e-mail and phone)    Notice : Please replace from "[at]" to "@"(half-width character).

Hiroyuki Umemuro

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