Why person models are important for human factors science

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Human factors science has always been concerned with explaining and preventing human error and accidents. In the past 100 years, the field has shifted focus from a person approach to a system approach. In this opinion article, I provide five reasons why this shift is not opportune, and why person models are important for human factors science. I argue that (1) system models lack causal specificity; (2) as technology becomes more reliable, the proportion of accidents caused by human error increases; (3) technological development leads to new forms of human error; (4) scientific advances point to stable individual characteristics as predictors of human error and safety; and (5) in complex tasks, individual differences increase with task experience. Finally, some research recommendations are provided and ethical challenges of person models are brought forward.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-614
JournalTheoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository 'You share, we take care!' - Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care

Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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