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Human Factors Engineering Dr. Osama Al Meanazel
Lecture 11 (Information Theory) October 22, 2013

Laura was running late for an appointment in a large, unfamiliar city and relied on her new navigation device to guide her. She had read somewhat confusing instructions and realized the importance of the voice display mode so that she could hear the directions to her destination without taking her eyes off the road. She had reminded herself to activate it before she got into heavy traffic, but the traffic suddenly increased, and she realized that she had forgotten to do so. Being late, however, she did not pull over but tried to remember the sequence of mode switches necessary to activate the voice mode. She couldn’t get it right, but she managed to activate the electronic map. However, transposing its north up representation to accommodate her southbound direction of travel was too confusing. Finally lost, she pulled out her cellular phone to call her destination, glanced at the number she had written down, 303-462-8553, and dialed 303462-8533. Getting no response, she became frustrated. She looked down to check the number and dialed it carefully. Unfortunately, she did not see the car rapidly converging along the entrance ramp to her right, and only at the last moment the sound of the horn alerted her that the car was not yielding. Slamming on the brakes, heart beating fast, she pulled off to the side to carefully check her location, read the instructions, and place the phone call in the relative safety of the roadside.


321928 2. the amount of information in bits transmitted is: H = log2 N N  Examples: • Tossing an unbiased coin • Tossing a die Log2N 1 1.584963 2 3 4 5 6 2 .10/22/2013 Information Theory  Information theory defines information as reduction in uncertainty  Hence the occurrence of highly certain events conveys less information  Information theory measures information in units of bits (symbolized by H)  A bit is the amount of information required to decide between two equally likely alternatives Information Theory  If "N" be the number of equally likely alternatives.584963 2 2.

2 0 1 4 7 10 13 16 19 22 25 28 31 34 37 40 43 46 49 52 55 58 61 64 67 70 73 76 79 82 85 88 91 94 97 100 3 .6 0.2 1 0.8 0.10/22/2013 Information theory Information theory The reduction from maximum amount of information as alternative become unequally likely Amount of information Bits 1.4 0.

10/22/2013 Information Theory: Transmitted Info  Consider the following stimulus and its associated response Stimulus Response Signal Noise Signal Noise Example     Consider 4 signals A. C. and D. Each signal is shown twice Suppose all the response are correct Find the amount of information transmitted 4 . B.

C. Each signal is shown twice Suppose all the response are incorrect Find the amount of information transmitted Disadvantages of Information Theory  Most of its concept are descriptive rather than explanatory  It offers only the most primitive clues about the underlying psychological mechanisms of information processing 5 .10/22/2013 Example     Consider 4 signals A. B. and D.

 This information can come: • Directly through observation (direct sensing) • Example: watching a plane in the sky • Indirectly through some intervening medium (indirect sensing) • Example: watching the radar for a blip which refers to a plane  Human factors aspect of design comes into the picture when we use indirect sensing.  Types of Information? 6 .10/22/2013 An Application of Information Theory  Choice reaction time experiment: the subject must make secrete and separate responses to different stimulus  Example: a person is required to push one of four buttons depending on which of four lights comes on  Hick (1952): reaction time increases as the number of equally likely alternatives increase – linear relationship  Hyman (1953): same experiment but with different probabilities of occurrence  Hick-Hyman Law: Choice reaction time is a linear function of the stimulus information Displaying Information  Information comes to us through stimuli.

situation or object • Example: traffic lanes  Alphanumeric and Symbolic Information: displaying information using signs.10/22/2013 Classification of Information  Quantitative Information: reflects the quantitative value of some variable • Example: speed of a car on a speedometer  Qualitative Information: displays that show the trend. instructions. music notes  Time phased Information: information which is displayed at definite time periods (cycle) • Example: blinker lights 7 . areas or other configurations • Example: heartbeats on an oscilloscope  Identification Information: method to display a static condition. direction of change • Example: engine temperature indicated by a qualitative dial  Status Information: displays the condition of a system(on/off indications. braille. indications of independent conditions) • Example: channel indicator on the TV  Warning and Signal Information: indicates emergency /unsafe conditions • Example: lighthouse beacons Classification of Information  Representational Information: pictorial or graphic representations of objects. rate of change. labels.