Ergonomics

ergonomics, the engineering science concerned with the physical and psychological relationship between machines and the people who use them. The ergonomicist takes an empirical approach to the study of human-machine interactions. The objective is to improve the efficiency of operation by taking into account a typical person's size, strength, speed, visual acuity, and physiological stresses, such as fatigue, speed of decision making, and demands on memory and perception. Applications range from the design of work areas (including office furniture, automobile interiors, and aircraft cockpits) to the disposition of switches and gauges on the control panels of machinery to determining the size, shape, and layout of keys on computer terminals and character height, color, and clarity on video displays. The field of ergonomics is also sometimes called human or human-factors engineering, engineering psychology, and biotechnology.

See B. M. Pulat, Fundamentals of Industrial Ergonomics (1992); M. S. Sanders and E. J. McCormick, Human Factors in Engineering and Design (1993).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Introduction to Ergonomics
R. S. Bridger.
Taylor & Francis, 2003
The History of Human Factors and Ergonomics
David Meister.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999
Ergonomics and Safety of Intelligent Driver Interfaces
Y. Ian Noy.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1997
Engineering Psychophysiology: Issues and Applications
Richard W. Backs; Wolfram Boucsein.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 15 "Psychophysiological Analysis of Design Work: Ergonomic Improvements Derived from Stress -- Strain Research"
Technology and the Transformation of White-Collar Work
Robert E. Kraut.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1987
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 13 "Choices En Route to the Office of Tomorrow"
Human-Computer Interaction: Communication, Cooperation, and Application Design
Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999
Human-Computer Interaction: Ergonomics and User Interfaces
Hans-Jörg Bullinger; Jürgen Ziegler.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, vol.1, 1999
Designing for Humans
Jan Noyes.
Psychology Press, 2001
Ergonomics Then and Now
Emanoil, Pamela.
Human Ecology, Vol. 28, No. 2, Spring 2000
Ergonomics Play Important Role in New Learning Habitats
Gellerman, Elizabeth.
T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education), Vol. 21, No. 9, April 1994
Ergonomics: What's Next for the State of Washington?
Smith, Sandy.
Occupational Hazards, Vol. 66, No. 2, February 2004
Handbook of Aviation Human Factors
Daniel J. Garland; John A. Wise; V. David Hopkin.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 1999
Psychophysiology: Human Behavior and Physiological Response
John L. Andreassi.
Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2000 (4th edition)
Librarian’s tip: "Psychophysiology in Ergonomics" begins on p. 337
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