The History of Human Factors and Ergonomics

By David Meister | Go to book overview

Human Engineering Guide for Equipment Designers was published--the first of the several well-designed and readable guides or handbooks for human factors engineering practitioners that have appeared since then. Ernest McCormick's Human Engineering was published in 1957; it was the first textbook on the topic since Chapanis, Garner, and Morgan ( 1949) Applied Experimental Psychology.

The decade saw the publication of many chapters and reports on the topic of, or topics in, engineering psychology (e.g., see the papers included in Wally Sinaiko's Selected Papers of Human Factors in the Design and Use of Control Systems, which appeared in 1961 and was widely used as an adjunct to the primary texts of courses in engineering psychology). The decade also saw the beginnings of growth in the publication of specialized texts and reports, such as Floyd and Welford ( 1953) Symposium of Fatigue; Finch and Cameron ( 1958) Air Force Human Engineering, Personnel, and Training Research; and Ray, Martin, and Alluisi ( 1961) Human Performance as a Function of the Work-Rest Cycle.

The third indication of growth during the 1950s was the formation of two societies to represent the profession and science of human factors engineering and engineering psychology. In the Far West, especially in Southern California in the area from Los Angeles south to San Diego--the area in which many of the airframe and aerospace industries were located--persons interested in the new emphasis on human factors began meeting for technical discussions. These meetings led to the formation of the Human Factors Society ( HFS) in 1957, which in turn produced the journal Human Factors, intended as an archival journal for the publication of research findings, and the HFS Bulletin, a newsletter that also carries papers of a substantive nature pertaining principally to professional affairs.

From the beginning, the HFS was a multidisciplinary organization that accepted as members anyone who worked or even expressed interest in any of the multiple areas of human factors--areas dealing with considerations of human factors as they influence or should influence the design and operation of systems, including aspects such as human-machine interfaces, product and workplace designs, and safety. Although at its beginning between a third and a half of its members were psychologists, the HFS has never been viewed as a psychological society, nor has it indicated any desire to be so perceived. However, the situation was different on the East Coast. There, Franklin Taylor, Karl Kryter, and Harry Older organized Division 21, the Society of Engineering Psychologists--A Division of the American Psychological Association.


References

Anonymous. ( 1919). "The measurement and utilization of brainpower in the Army". Science, 49, n.s., 221-226.

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The History of Human Factors and Ergonomics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xi
  • List of Acronyms xv
  • 1: Introduction to HFE 1
  • 2 - The Conceptual Structure of HFE 33
  • 3 - The System as a Fundamental Construct 89
  • 4 - The Formal History of HFE 146
  • References 181
  • 5 - The Informal History of HFE 183
  • 6 - Characteristics of HFE Research 234
  • 7 - Special Interests Within HFE 276
  • 8 - HFE Practice 322
  • 9 - A Commentary on the Big Issues 356
  • References 362
  • Author Index 372
  • Subject Index 376
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