Human System Interface Design and Operators Cognitive Strategies

P.V.R. Carvalho1, *, I.J.A.L. Santos 1, M.C.R. Vidal 2
1 Department of Instrumentation and Human Reliability, Nuclear Engineering Institute, Brazil
2 Luiz Alberto Coimbra Institute, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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Carvalho et al.; Licensee Bentham Open

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Department of Instrumentation and Human Reliability, Nuclear Engineering Institute, Brazil; E-mail:


This paper focuses on the influence of Human-System Interface (HSI) design on nuclear power operators’ actual work. During plant normal operation, operators’ work comprises activities like monitoring, the use of procedures, cooperation mechanisms, and cognitive strategies for problem solving and decision-making. The work is characterized by constant changes in the focus of attention and the dynamics of conflicting activities. This paper explores the relationships between the operators’ cognitive strategies and the constraints imposed by the HSI. The method employed for data collection was a field study during the operators’ actual work in the plant control room. Our findings show that the HSI introduces background noise in the plant operation that shapes actions and decisions made by the operators.