Aging and Human Performance
Neil Charness,First Published June 1, 2008 Other
Volume: 50 issue: 3, page(s): 548-555
Article first published online: June 1, 2008; Issue published: June 1, 2008
Psychology Department, Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida, firstname.lastname@example.org
Objectives: I identify major theoretical and practical contributions to aging and human performance as reflected primarily in the pages of Human Factors.Background: Populations worldwide are aging. True experimental work on aging is not possible because age levels cannot be manipulated. Sophisticated theoretical frameworks and modeling techniques are required to reach valid inferences about age effects and age changes. Method:Citation analysis was used to identify articles in Human Factors dealing with age or aging and to rank them for citation impact. Results: Special issues on aging were followed by increased publication rates for articles on age or aging, particularly in the 1990s. Most-cited articles deal primarily with age and driving. Conclusions:Applied contributions rely on improved measurement of performance and on methodological advances, including simulation and modeling. Design changes that provide environmental support for declining cognitive, perceptual, and psychomotor abilities can serve as a powerful intervention for maintaining and improving older adult performance. Training is also a robust way to improve performance at both the basic ability level and the level of task performance. Human factors specialists can improve quality of life for an aging population. Applications: Guidelines for older users are now being developed by standards bodies and are implemented in domains such as Web design. Much of the focus of human factors research has been on improving efficiency in the performance of aging adults in the workforce, but reducing errors and increasing comfort and satisfaction in health-related activities should receive greater attention.