Human factors psychologist presents research on Capitol Hill

Jing Chen of Old Dominion University shared her work on safe autonomous driving.

On April 30, 2019, the American Psychological Association (APA) participated in the 25th annual Coalition for National Science Funding (CNSF) exhibition and reception.  This year’s event, titled “Building the Future: Federal Investments in Science, Engineering, and Education,” showcased a wide range of research across all areas of science, all funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

 APA was represented by psychologist Jing Chen of Old Dominion University, who demonstrated how human factors psychology contributes to safe autonomous driving.  Dr. Chen’s research investigates the fundamental principles of human performance and decision-making, and applies these principles to cybersecurity and human-automation interaction problems.  For the CNSF exhibition, she highlighted her work on factors that affect human trust in automated systems, how to design effective risk warnings for drivers, and how drivers respond to autonomous vehicle cyberattacks.

Dr. Chen (second-from-right) presents her research to Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI-1).

Dr. Chen (second-from-right) presents her research to Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI-1).

 Dr. Chen was joined at the event by 34 exhibitors representing professional organizations, scientific coalitions, and universities.  Among the exhibition attendees who stopped by to speak with Dr. Chen and learn about her research were Rep. Jack Bergman (R-MI-1); Arthur “Skip” Lupia and Marc Sebrechts of NSF’s Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences Directorate; and various congressional staffers, NSF officers, and academic and organization representatives.

 Earlier in the day, Dr. Chen and APA staff met with the offices of several Virginia Members of Congress, including Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA), Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Rep. Elaine Luria (D-VA-2), and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA-3), to describe her research and the role her Human-Automation Collaboration (HAC) Laboratory plays in advancing our understanding of how humans interact with automated systems. 

Dr. Chen at the office of Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

Dr. Chen at the office of Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA)

 These visits also provided an opportunity to thank Members of Congress for supporting increases in NSF funding in fiscal year (FY) 2019, ask them to support NSF receiving at least $9 billion in its FY 2020 appropriation, and ask for support of a two-year bipartisan budget agreement that increases the spending caps for federal discretionary programs such as at NSF.

APA is committed to advocating for funding of research in human factors and other areas of applied psychology and to promoting the use of such research in the development of new technologies and policies.  The next APA conference on Technology, Mind & Society will be held on Oct. 3-5, 2019, in Washington, DC.