We’ve all experienced mild anxiety during our first interaction with a new device — from setting up our hi-def TVs to checking in for a doctor’s appointment via an in-office kiosk. Will it work the way I need it to and the way I expect it to?
Human factors and engineering psychologists strive to make these interactions easier, more comfortable, less frustrating and, when necessary, safer. But their purview extends beyond the everyday gadgets we need to function; they also apply the science of psychology to improve life-critical products, such as medical equipment and airline computer systems.
These professionals apply what they know about human behavior to help businesses design products, systems and devices. They combine technology and psychology to improve our interactions with the systems and equipment we use daily.
Have you ever wondered why some products seem to work better than others? The best products are thought out and tested with people trying them out in real-life situations.
Better designs mean happy customers, fewer costly redesigns and less likelihood of accidents or injuries. Because of this, businesses and organizations need the expertise of human factors and engineering psychologists, who study how people behave and use that knowledge to create better processes and products.
These psychologists work in many different areas, including business, government and academia. And they can work on a range of designs — from the ordinary things that touch all of our lives, such as better can openers and safer cars, to the highly specialized, such as instruments that allow pilots to land jumbo jets safely.
Human factors and engineering psychologists study the interplay between people and technology.
Resources to help you pursue a career in psychology
A degree in psychology can lead to a fulfilling career that makes a difference in people’s lives.
Find out what it takes to become a human factors and engineering psychologist
Human factors and engineering psychology focuses on improving and adapting technology, equipment and work environments to complement human behavior and capabilities.