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University of Strathclyde Department of Computer Science

Modelling Cognitive Aspects
of Complex Control Tasks

A. Simon Grant
Ph. D.

Full Contents

References (linked to text)

Front matter


  1. Introduction and study context
  2. Mental models and cognitive task analysis literature
  3. Early studies
  4. The Simple Unstable Vehicle : a manual control task
  5. Non-manual control task selection
  6. The Sea-Searching Simulation task and first experiment
  7. Sea-Searching Simulation task : second experiment
  8. Overall interpretation of results, conclusions and directions


  1. The help content in the second sea-searching experiment
  2. A small case study of differing representations
  3. Analysis of concurrent sub-tasks in ROV control


This thesis grew out of an environment including the Scottish HCI Centre, with a psychologist as supervisor, and the machine learning expertise of the Turing Institute. It is a work of cognitive science, strongly flavoured with cognitive ergonomics for complex tasks and human factors in process control. It attempts to understand human representation of complex tasks, and finds a key in the idea that the cognitive context of an action is related to the information accessed. This is shown by using rule-induction as a measure of the degree to which the actions are determined by the information observed by the human. It is a many-threaded, forward-looking work, which does not fit neatly into any standard research framework, but rather offers to help open up new ones. It is particularly recommended for cognitive scientists and related researchers open to or looking for new paradigms.

This work is not currently available on paper or in postscript format. Instead, please feel free to print off chapters as required, from these web pages.