Department of Psychology Celebrates Assoc. Professor’s Double Fellowship

Two prestigious psychology associations recently named a UCF associate professor a fellow.

James Szalma, Ph.D., researches and teaches in the field of human factors, which guides intuitive design of products and maximizes efficiency based on the way people instinctively behave. Szalma, for instance, has spoken with Sports Illustrated magazine about the connection between crowd noise and the performance of sports teams. His research into acoustics also informed workplace designs that minimize distractions.

The national impact of his work was the basis for his acceptance as a fellow into both the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES) and the American Psychological Association (APA), Division 21:  Applied and Experimental Psychology. Both are leading organizations in the world of human factors psychology.

“This is a very big deal in our field, and highly competitive,” said Department of Psychology Chair Florian Jentsch, Ph.D. “To land a fellowship in both organizations nearly simultaneously is extraordinary. We are very proud of Dr. Szalma’s achievement.”

Szalma’s students include engineering majors, who learn how to develop products that are not only technically sound, but ergonomically accessible. From a psychological standpoint, this includes topics like memory, perception and cognition and perception.

Szalma said the double fellowships are a pleasant surprise.

“It’s a recognition that you are doing work that has national impact, and it’s making a difference,” he said.



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