Cognitive ergonomics is a field of study that seeks to determine how well the use of a product suits the users’ cognitive capabilities. It focuses on the knowledge of a person’s perception, memory, and mental processing. Cognitive ergonomics cannot be classified under the design discipline. Instead, it gives designers knowledge to use as guidelines to ensure good usability.

This field of study also aims at understanding the functional limitations of a person’s mental capacity to apply the understanding to how the limitation affects workers. The cognitive ergonomics insights are derived from cognitive psychology and other cognitive subfields. When evaluating a workplace, the evaluators consider various basic factors like the demands that the tasks and the environment place on the employee’s sensation, perception, attention, long-term memory, and short-term/working memory.

The applications of cognitive ergonomics

The first domains that cognitive ergonomics investigated were air traffic control systems, medical anesthetics, and power plants, which feature complicated environments. The situation also calls for unexceptional focus to make resolutions in possibly life-threatening circumstances. Many studies using softer domains like office work, leisure activities, and banking were performed in the following years. With the change in the domains, the principles also changed. Therefore, cognitive ergonomics primarily focuses on work activities that:

  • Are in safety perilous environments.
  • Contain an accentuated cognitive component such as decision-making and calculation.
  • Are in complex, variable environments, for instance in situations where predetermining tasks are not possible.

Benefits of cognitive ergonomics to employers and employees

Through cognitive ergonomics, employers can ensure that they limit the mental load that their employees have to deal with in possibly dangerous situations. This ensures the safety of the employees. It benefits the employer by enhancing the reliability in which the employees can safely and effectively carry out the tasks assigned to them. This in turn increases productivity leading to increased income for the business.

In general, the role of cognitive ergonomics is to ensure that the duties of workers and their working environment are correct in consideration of their capabilities, psychological needs, and limitations.