the mind machine is dedicated to the latest research in applied neurosciences, physiological computing, neuroadaptive interfaces and human factors psychology. Each episode features a conversation with a different researcher about their work. The conversations will cover technical aspects of the work as well as potential societal impacts. The podcast will present academic research in a way that is both informal and accessible for both professional and non-professional listeners. You can find the podcast at the iTunes Store here or via this link to Stitcher
Show Notes: Wendy Rogers
You can get a great overview of all Wendy’s published outputs via her page on Google Scholar, which is what I used to structure our conversation. Wendy is currently lab director at the Human Factors and Ageing Laboratory at the University Of Illinois and you can get more information about her lab here.
One aspect of Wendy’s early work as a cognitive experimental psychologist focused on the interaction between skill and ageing, this 1991 paper from Journal of Experimental Psychology is a good example of this research. This book chapter published in 2000 gives a broader overview of this work. Wendy developed insights from her experimental work to explore how older people interacted with technology. In the course of our conversation, I mentioned this early piece of research exploring users’ attitudes to usage of automatic teller machines and this paper describes how training and instructional design can support older users in this context. Speaking of early work on technology and older users, we also briefly mentioned this study on strategies used by older adults to explore the Web as it was known back then. This book, which Wendy co-authored, provides an overview of how understanding cognitive skills can be reconciled with design principles to design technology for older adults. We also had a brief discussion about the design of warning information, this 2000 paper from Human Factors references that aspect of Wendy’s work.
Listening back to our conversation, the topic of technology acceptance came up a couple of times, this 2006 paper is a study of which factors influence the adoption of technology across the lifespan. Wendy also talked about the international community of researchers devoted to Gerontechnology, here is a link to website for that group and another link to their official journal. In recent years, Wendy has been investigating how older adults respond to support from robots. Understanding the process by which humans relate to robots socially is very important and here are some examples of Wendy’s work in this field: this 2015 paper looks at user preferences for the faces of humanoid robots, her work on how the PARO robot is described in this 2017 journal paper and here with respect to emotional support. We also spoke specifically about this recent work on the preferences of older adults for robot care providers. I also wanted to mention this short paper describes what friendship may mean between a person and a robot, which we kind of got into at the end of conversation with reference to so-called “artificial intimacy.”
Show Notes: Alan Pope
For an overview of Alan’s published output, you can check out his page on Research Gate here. During our conversation, we talk about a number of influences on Alan’s work, which includes early work on biofeedback (this 1982 review of the topic is one example) and Ross Ashby’s 1960 book Design For A Brain (full pdf download available here). We also talked about the early days of mental workload assessment in aviation psychology, including his own 1982 paper on that topic and the excellent 1986 chapter on workload assessment methodology by O’Donnell & Eggemeier (full pdf available here).
We also talked about the concept of a symbionic cockpit that allowed the pilot to fly indefinitely and the sci-fi book that indirectly inspired this concept, that neither of us could remember during our conversation, was North Cape by Joe Poyer. We discussed the development of the biocybernetic loop and particularly Alan’s work on designing EEG measures to be used in real-time, here is his original 1995 paper on that topic, this later paper used ERP to run the closed-loop system, and a summary can be found in this 2003 paper by his collaborators. We also talked about his work integrating closed-loop control/neurofeedback into gaming system to treat ADHD children, this 2001 paper provides an overview of that work.
Show Notes: Thorsten Zander
If you’d like to know more about Thorsten and his work, you can find his google scholar profile here. Early in the conversation we talked about the influence of role-playing games and early imagination on later research, Thorsten mentioned two games in particular, Shadowrun and Battletech. Thorsten also talked about his work integrating eye movements with BCI, this an older paper on that topic and a more recent one where a hands-free version of Tetris was created.