James L. Szalma is a professor and the director of the Human Factors and Cognitive Psychology Ph.D. Program in the Psychology Department at the University of Central Florida. He received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Michigan in 1990 and an MA in Applied Experimental/Human Factors psychology in 1997 from the University of Cincinnati.  He received a Ph.D. in Applied Experimental/Human Factors psychology in 1999 from the University of Cincinnati. The theme for his laboratory, the Performance Research Laboratory, is how variations in task characteristics interact with the characteristics of the person (i.e., cognitive abilities, personality, emotion, motivation) to influence performance, workload, and stress of cognitively demanding tasks. His primary research interests include signal/threat detection (e.g., friend/foe identification), training for threat detection, and how the characteristics of tasks and operators interact to influence performance in the context of tasks that require sustained attention or that include human-automation interaction. He is currently conducting research on the application of tasks created in a video game environment to train sustained attention, on the influence of motivation on performance and human-technology interaction (social media use), and on the influence of social context on performance, workload, and stress. He has also conducted research on the validity of Fuzzy Signal Detection Theory for performance evaluation in threat detection tasks.


Neigel, A.R., Claypoole, V.L., Smith, S.L., Waldfogle, G.E., Fraulini, N.W., Hancock, G.M., Helton, W.S., & Szalma, J.L. (2020). Engaging the human operator: A review of the theoretical support for the vigilance decrement and a discussion of practical applications. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 21(2), 239-258.

Neigel, A.R., Claypoole, V.L., Waldfogle, G.E., Fraulini, N.W., & Szalma, J.L. (2019). Where is my mind? Examining mind-wandering and vigilance performance. Experimental Brain Research, 237, 557-571.

Claypoole, V.L., & Szalma, J.L. (2019). Electronic performance monitoring and sustained attention: Social facilitation for modern applications. Computers in Human Behavior, 94, 25-34.

Claypoole, V.L., & Szalma, J.L. (2018). Independent Co-Actors May Improve Performance and Lower Workload: Viewing Vigilance under Social Facilitation. Human Factors, 60(6), 822-832.

Claypoole, V.L., Neigel, A.R., Fraulini, N.W., Hancock, G.M., & Szalma, J.L. (2018). Can vigilance tasks be administered online? A replication and discussion. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance, 44(9), 1348-1355.

Szalma, J.L., Daly, T.N., Teo, G.W.L., Hancock, G.M., & Hancock, P.A. (2018). Training for vigilance on the move: A video game-based paradigm for sustained attention. Ergonomics, 61(4), 482-505.

Fraulini, N.W., Hancock, G.M., Neigel, A.R., Claypoole, V.L., & Szalma, J.L. (2017). A critical examination of the research and theoretical underpinnings discussed in Thomson, Besner, and Smilek (2016). Psychological Review, 124(4), 525-531.

Dewar, A.R., Bull, T.P., Malvey, D.M., & Szalma, J.L. (2017). Developing a measure of engagement with telehealth systems: The mHealth technology Engagement Index.  Journal of Telemedicine and Telecare, 23(2), 248-255.

Szalma, J.L. (2014). On the application of motivation theory to human factors/ ergonomics: Motivational design principles for human-technology interaction. Human Factors, 56, 1453-1471.

Szalma, J.L., Schmidt, T.N., Teo, G.W.L., & Hancock, P.A. (2014). Vigilance on the move: Video game-based measurement of sustained attention.  Ergonomics, 57, 1315-1336.

Szalma, J.L., & Taylor, G.S. (2011). Individual differences in response to automation: The big five factors of personality. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, 17, 71-96.

Szalma, J.L. (2009). Individual differences in human-technology interaction: Incorporating variation in human characteristics into human factors research and design.  Theoretical Issues in Ergonomics Science, 10, 381-397.

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