Faculty Profile

James Szalma, PhD

James Szalma, PhD, is an Associate Professor in the psychology department. He received a BS in Chemistry from the University of Michigan and earned an MA and a PhD in Applied Experimental/Human Factors psychology from the University of Cincinnati. His primary research interests include human performance of cognitively demanding signal detection tasks, and the workload and stress associated with cognitive performance. He is also interested in the individual differences that contribute to variation in performance and stress response.  His lab, the Performance Research Laboratory (PeRL), is currently investigating how operator characteristics and task characteristics interact to influence performance in systems utilizing adaptive automation, as well as the validity of Fuzzy Signal Detection Theory for performance evaluation in threat detection.

Valerie Sims, PhD

Valerie Sims, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Psychology Department. Her lab, the Applied Cognition and Technology (ACAT) group studies human experiences of non-humans, including computers and animals. Dr. Sims obtained her BA in psychology with a concentration in cognitive studies from Carleton College in Northfield, MN. She holds an MA and PhD in Cognitive Psychology, as well as an interdisciplinary emphasis in human development from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Prior to coming to UCF, Dr. Sims worked for three years as an assistant professor at Cedar Crest College in Allentown, PA. Her primary research interests are in the areas of human-computer interaction, human-animal interaction, and individual differences in spatial ability. Some of her research has centered on the cognitive abilities of video game experts. Her teaching interests include Cognitive Psychology, Sensation and Perception, Developmental Psychology, and Research Methods.

Peter Hancock, PhD

Peter Hancock, PhD, is the University Pegasus Professor and Provost Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Psychology and the Institute for Simulation and Training, as well as the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Dr. Hancock holds a Master’s degree in Human Biology from Loughborough University in England and a doctoral degree in Kinesiology from the University of Illinois. He began his academic career as an assistant professor at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, then served as Director of the Human Factors Research Laboratory (HFRL) at the University of Minnesota where he held appointments as Professor in the Departments of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Psychology, and Kinesiology as well as at the Cognitive Science Center and the Center on Aging Research. He is the author or editor of twenty books, including Performance under Stress (2008); Mind, Machine and Morality (2009); and Richard III and the Murder in the Tower (2009). His latest book, Hoax Springs Eternal: The Psychology of Cognitive Deception (Cambridge University Press) is due out in 2014.
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