Frank Durso

Frank Durso

General Information


Professor of Psychology

Research Area

Engineering Psychology


Ph.D. (1980) Experimental Psychology/Cognitive
State University of New York at Stony Brook

Cognitive Ergonomics Lab Webpage
J S Coon building 231


Most of my current research would fall under the labels applied cognition or cognitive ergonomics: how cognition (e.g., knowledge, expertise, working memory, attention allocation, strategy selection) interacts with environmental components (e.g., technology, the representation of flight data, available automation, patient symptoms, presence of teammates) to affect the operator's performance, learning, transfer, workload, situation awareness, and strategic thinking. Current and imminent projects include: (1) An investigation of strategy use and selection in dynamic environments focused on critical care nurses. Our hope is to develop a methodology that allows easy elicitation of strategies from experts; to articulate how strategy selection is used to protect situation comprehension, workload, and performance; and to train novices in these expert strategies. (2) An archival study of the cognitive factors underlying rail accidents. (3) A series of experiments trying to determine the conditions to obtain"and eliminate"the vigilance decrement in dynamic environments like air traffic control. (4) Producing a Handbook of Human-Systems Integration . Student led projects are looking into taxonomies of human error, the psychometrics of situation awareness, complex prospective memory, predictive aiding in railway automation, the role of familiarity in driving SA, and a comparison of electronic inks. Undergraduate senior theses are in progress on cell-phone addiction, cognitive structure underlying learning through metaphor, and operator attributions when working with automation.


  • American Psychological Association (Fellow; Past-President, Division 21)
  • Association of Psychological Science (Fellow)
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (Fellow; President Elect)
  • Psychonomic Society
  • Sigma Xi
  • Southwestern Psychological Association (Past-President)
  • National Research Council's Board of Human Systems Integration

Selected publications

  • Durso, F. T., & Drews, F. (2010). Health care, aviation, and ecosystems: A socio-natural systems perspective. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 19, 71-75.
  • Cooke, N. M., & Durso, F. T. (2008). Stories of Modern Technology Failures and Cognitive Engineering Successes. CRC Press.
  • Durso, F. T., & Manning, C. A. (2009). Air traffic control. In C. M. Carswell (Ed.), Reviews of Human Factors and Ergonomics (4th). Santa Monica: HFES, pp. 195-244
  • Durso, F. T., & Alexander, A. (2010). Managing workload, performance, and situation awareness in aviation systems. In E. Salas,& D. Maurino (Eds.) Human Factors in Aviation, Elsevier, pp. 217-247.
  • Durso, F. T., DeLucia, P. R., & Jones, K. S. (2010). Engineering psychology. In I.B. Weiner & W. E. Craighead (Eds.), Corsini’s Encyclopedia of Psychology (4th ed.,pp/781-784), Hoboken,NJ: Wiley.
  • Durso, F. T., & Sethumadhavan, A. (2008). Situation awareness: Understanding dynamic environments. Human Factors, 50, 442–448
  • Durso, F. T., Crutchfield, J., & Harvey, C. (2007). The cooperative shift change. Theoretical Issues in Ergonomic Science, 8, 213-232.
  • Durso, F. T., Rawson, K., & Girotto, S. (2007). Comprehension and situation awareness. In F. T. Durso, R. Nickerson, S. Dumais, S. Lewandowsky, & T. Perfect, Handbook of Applied Cognition (2nd), Chicester: Wiley, pp. 163-193.
  • Bleckley, M. K., Durso, F. T., Crutchfield, J. M., Engle, R., & Khanna, M. (2003). Individual differences in working memory capacity predict visual attention allocation. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review. 10, 884-889.
  • Boehm-Davis, D., Durso, F. T., Lee, J. D. (under contract). Handbook of Human-Systems Integration, APA publications.
  • Durso, F. T., Geldbach, K. M., & Corballis, P. (2012). Detecting confusion using facial electromyography. Human Factors, 54, 60-69.
  • Durso, F. T., Pop, V. L., Burnett, J. S., & Stearman, E. J. (2011). Evidence based human factors guidelines for PowerPoint presentations. Ergonomics in Design, 19 , 4-8.
  • Kazi, S., Ferguson, A. N., & Durso, F. T. (2012). Mapping strategies to threats in critical care nursing. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society .
  • Ferguson, A. N., Kazi, S., & & Durso, F. T. (2012). Revealing latent strategy structure from expert critical care nurses. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society .