It has been a while since I was a psychology major. At the time I took physiological psychology, I think there was one neurotransmitter—they suspected there were others. . . now well over 100 have been identified. As a psych major, I remember Research Methods. I know many of you are in 303 now. It was a favorite, not just because we got to experiment on a white rat and each other, but because that is where I began to think like a scientist. I remember learning about causes and effects. About how just because an effect was correlated with something it didn’t mean that it was caused by it. So it is a fact that eating ice cream is correlated with drowning, but of course summertime causes both of those effects. Shoe size is correlated with vocabulary, but only because children know fewer words than their big footed parents. I know that it’s even possible that what looks at first like a cause of “X” might actually be caused BY “X.” I was also taught that most effects involving people had multiple causes. When I listened to the news, I realized I was hearing reports more like the ice cream causes drowning than ones based on the scientific methods I was learning in my psychology classes. And on TV, there usually was only one cause for any one thing. I was discovering that ability to think like a psychological scientist was useful everywhere—from understanding smoking and cancer to cell phones and driving. I knew that thinking like a psychologist was something that would be useful regardless of what I chose to do.
While I was slowly learning in the quiet of high school, then college, then graduate school, the world around me was changing rapidly, and even though this had always been the case, the speed of change was clearly accelerating.
Let me start by talking about the evolution of two technologies—the automobile and the computer. Ransom Olds’ motor vehicle company was in 1897, when Edna was 4, but it wasn’t until the Model T Ford that automobiles became widely available. Built in 1908. Changed little, including color, over next 20 years. 15,000,000 of them built. Originally cost $850 (Wikipedia). ($850 in 1913 = $17,309 in 2006) (1913: earliest date for which consumer price index calculator works) Source: http://www.hfmgv.org/exhibits/showroom/1908/model.t.html Not the first car to be built in US Ransom Olds founded Olds Motor Vehicle Company in 1897
Clearly things have changed from the model T to the Buick, But REALLY these Differences are moderate. For example, only one factor (horsepower) is an order of magnitude greater. Model T cost $850 in 1908. Roughly equivalent to $20,000 2008 dollars.
Let’s take a look at the computer ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) Designed by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert Unveiled at U Penn’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering; pre IC Intended use: Calculation of artillery firing tables. Used for about 10 years. Lot of room, multimillions of $, slow Picture from article by Kevin W. Richey http://ei.cs.vt.edu/~history/ENIAC.Richey.HTML
Built by the Digital Equipment Corporation Intended for hands-on use No software Arguably one if its successors (PDP-8) changed the nature of psychological research in the U.S. The PDP-8I was my first lab computer when I was a graduate student under Roger Schvaneveldt at SUNY at Stony Brook. You would toggle in enough commands so that the PDP would know how to use its paper tape reader. Once the tape was loaded—we used languages like FOCAL and COLAV. When Roger left and I moved to Marcia Johnson’s lab I kept using the 8/I, but the 8/I only had 8K of memory so it couldn’t hold both my dissertation program and the debugger, so I had to debug my program in pieces. Only when I put the pieces together did I know if it would work.
Apple. 1.8 GHz
PDP_1 floor space: I have seen claims of 19 and 32 sq ft. ENIAC cost 500,000 n 1945; built with vacuum tubes, diodes, relays, resistors, capacitors PDP-1 cost 120,000 in 1960 Note the many orders of magnitude of the changes
1) Bell & Gemmell 2007 p 62
Another view of the acceleration of change in technology is provided by analyses like these. Here we see how long it took a technology to be adopted by 25% of the US population.
I’ve tried to argue that information technology is changing at a blistering rate. We, however, are changing at a much slower rate. While market pressures buffet the technology causing rapid changes, we are nudged along. So, here we are, slowly learning every day while technology changes at the speed of light. In all of this new technology, one thing was being forgotten—the human factor. People have to work in these complex environments. People have to use this technology. Have you ever felt like the kid on the right? Did you feel awkward or silly? Did you blame yourself? Was I mastering the new computer operating system and software. Not too well. Maybe I should take that special 2 week course or maybe I should buy that big book for dummies? I can’t get my universal remote to work. I must not have followed the instructions.
Psychologists fix these problems: The instructor of my introductory psychology class was an engineering psychologist and would occasionally tell us problems he faced and asked us to solve them. One I remember was that line workers who had to cut sheets of metal would occasionally cut off their hands when they pulled a lever to release the cutting blade. DEMONSTRATE How did he fix the problem. He added a forcing function, which I now know means operators were required to use their left hand to throw a switch which would only then allow the blade to descend. Both hands were forced to be away from the blade when it fell.
Often, unfortunately, failures to consider the human factor come after a major disaster. The nuclear accident at three-mile island that was averted only minutes away from a meltdown. SLIDE The Vincennes incident when a US *** patrolling **** shot down a *** passenger jet with *** people on board that it thought was **** Iranian fighter. Sometimes the human factor is about people working with technology, like three mile island, and sometimes its about people working under stress, like the Vincennes, and some times its about people working with people. Psychologists were also responsible for the innovation called Crew Resource Management. In ******, Portland flight ****Tell Portland Story*****
For those of you inducted today, I promise the biggest human factor issues will be in the healthcare. The Institute of Medicine reported that 50 to 100,000 people die each year in the United States because of preventable medical errors. That’s equivalent to one or two 727s crashing everyday of the year. How the human factor fits into the medical system and the medical technology is a factor in each of these errors.
The little boy in Florida who was given ***** of **** instead of ****. The anesthesiologist who nodded off during a surgery because of fatigue, and who was not woken up by nurses afraid to intervene. The vast majority of patients already on medication who are admitted to the hospital will either get a medicine they shouldn’t receive, or not get one that they should.
The most prominent medical errors are medication errors, but there are more egregious ones . . .
One is operative awareness. Three components of anesthesia: paralysis—remove motion , analgesia—remove pain, and sedation--remove consciousness It is very difficult to Project into the future when these drugs will have their effects and how they will accumulate at the sites
There is bad technology <CLICK> and there is good technology <CLICK>. But either kind of Technology can push you around. It causes us to do things we’d rather not—like take courses, and read lengthy instruction manuals. We seem to have to adapt to technology, it doesn’t seem to adapt to us. These trends will continue until we insist <CLICK>, with our pocketbooks, that the technology we buy is made with the user in mind. We blame ourselves when something doesn’t work right, not the technology. Instead ask--Why wasn’t the technology easier to use? Why weren’t instructions where you needed them, when you needed them. Take control of your environment. Don’t be afraid of technology. If you can’t figure out how to use it or if it does something stupid, it’s more likely to be technology’s fault than yours. Problems have multiple causes—the technology, the production pressure to get something done too quickly, the cost-cutting short cuts, and yes, sometimes even the person. But blaming the person is no more appropriate than blaming the engineer who designed the system.
As psychologists, your role in life is to understand and help people. We can do this in a number of ways. We can help people by changing them, one at a time: We can help the suicidal teenager realize that his thinking is faulty. We can help the phobic shed her fears. We can educate the untrained. We can also help groups of people by changing the environments and systems in which people learn and work. We can implement procedures to insure that the doctor operating on your daughter is not fatigued beyond limits, that the pilot has the right information displayed before she pulls onto the wrong runway, that the car braking in front of you grabs your attention, and that the nurse is empowered and trained in the communication skills to correct a physician about to make an error. We can put people in charge of their environments. We can make people the causal agent, not an effect. Up until now, through most of your life, you have been an effect. Others cause changes in your life and in your world. Your parents and your teachers lull you into a sense that you are dependent on them. That feeling is very seductive. It makes you feel secure and comfortable. It makes you feel special. It lets you take risks, knowing that the net of dependency hangs below you should you fall. These are good things. But it also makes you think that you are not responsible. Not really responsible, . . . except maybe for your grades. As you get older you begin to feel that you are responsible for yourself. . . especially your grades. Do you feel any responsibility toward others? Toward society? Because you’ve decided to be a psychologist, the answer is a “yes”—maybe a whispered “yes,” but you have made the decision to help. Ultimately you may help in a different discipline, like law or medicine, but you have begun to look toward others. If you are being inducted tonight, it means that you are expected to lead, not to follow. You are in charge… and I mean in charge right now. You are able to change things. You are special people at a special university—but you are not special because you go to Mercer . . . Mercer is special because you go here. You can be the cause of many great effects, or you can be correlated to the actions of others. Take control of your environment now. Don’t put up with stupid things. Find out why things are the way they are and then if they’re stupid, harmful, inappropriate, try to change them. Be the Human Factor. BE the cause.
Putting the rate of change in information technology in perspective <ul><li>If the cost of an automobile had changed at the same rate as the cost of computing over 100 years, one would be able to buy about 10 million 2008 Buicks for about 3 cents. </li></ul><ul><li>If the speed of an automobile had changed at the same rate as the speed of computers over 100 years, an automobile would have attained the speed of light around 1965. </li></ul>
When you ignore the human factor <ul><li>A plane runs out of gas while circling an airport for an hour </li></ul><ul><li>A warship mistakes a airliner for a fighter plane and shoots it down </li></ul><ul><li>George Weller runs over people at the farmer’s market </li></ul><ul><li>Biased lineup leads eyewitnesses to pick the wrong man </li></ul><ul><li>Unreliable gauges are ignored </li></ul>
Preventable medical errors <ul><li>50,000 to 100,000 deaths </li></ul><ul><li>8 th leading cause of death </li></ul><ul><li>727-200 crash every day </li></ul>
<ul><ul><ul><li>Parts of anesthesia </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Jeanette Liska (1990) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ It felt like a blowtorch” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>“ death became profoundly attractive” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>She heard the surgeon speak “Well, I’ll be damned. It’s not a hernia. It’s just some fatty tissue. All that for nothing.” </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>Drug administration in context
<ul><ul><li>The drug display (DD) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Modeled drug concentrations and effect site concentrations </li></ul></ul></ul>Drug administration in context