NSF REU: Translational Research in Psychological Sciences: Human Factors
From the NSF Award Site: This project is funded from the Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Sites program in the SBE Directorate. As such, it has both scientific and societal benefits, and it integrates research and education. The REU Site at Texas Tech University advances research that aims to understand the cognitive, social, and physical capabilities and limitations of people and translates that knowledge to practical benefits for society. This area of psychological sciences, known as human factors, which is a subfield of applied experimental psychology, is vital in addressing societal challenges including those in aviation, health care, energy, transportation, and cyber-security, creating a large and increasing workforce need for human factors professionals. The REU Site will introduce undergraduates to an area with plentiful job opportunities and develop their research skills, making them attractive to graduate programs in various disciplines, and to industry employers seeking individuals who can apply research training to practical issues such as evaluating products and user interfaces. The REU Site supports diversity in social and behavioral sciences by recruiting under-represented groups to participate. Results of the research will advance the state of the art in the field and will have broad practical implications including traffic crashes, patient safety, education, human-robot interaction, substance use and misuse, health-based disparities, baggage screening, and occupational injuries.
The main goals of the REU Site are to engage undergraduates in behavioral research that has clear value in solving real-world problems, to develop research, teamwork, and communication skills applicable to any career in social and behavioral sciences, and to increase the number of undergraduates-- particularly those in underrepresented groups, who pursue graduate education and careers in human factors psychology. During each of three years, 8 undergraduates will work closely with faculty members at Texas Tech University on behavioral research with important applications such as driving, human-robot interaction; surgery; enhancement of student learning; applications of neuroscience to baggage screening; substance use and misuse; health-based disparities; and occupational injuries.