ENVIRONMENT IN A MICROWORLD
Ophélie Carreras & Hélène Eyrolle Laboratoire Travail & Cognition, UMR 5551 CNRS-UTM, Maison de la recherche, 5, allées Antonio Machado, 31058, Toulouse Cedex 1, FRANCE. email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our researches take place in particular situations, namely dynamic environments. These situations have the characteristic of evolving partly independently of operators' actions. One prototypical situation of that kind is process control : e.g.nuclear or chimical plants, blast furnace... Time is a fundamental aspect of those situations in the sense that operators must anticipate the process evolution and the effects of their own actions regarding the process. Our particular question of research has to do with this management of time. We are interested in the way operators cope with the temporal properties of the environment.
Using simulation for studying such a question seems appropriate for differents reasons which we will develop further. This presentation begins with a general consideration of the different types of simulation. We will then concentrate on microworlds by presenting the one we designed for our objectives : the microworld "Epure". Finally, we will try to characterize the main interests and limits of microworlds in general, and "Epure" in particular.
Different kinds of simulation are used for different purposes. Simulation can be used to create task environments for studying cognitive behaviour of human subjects. Another kind of simulation is the one which is used to simulate cognitive processes, it is a modelling of subjects' cognitive behaviour. We will focus here on the first kind of simulation.