Decision and Disaster

This talk will begin with two famous case studies of decision and disaster, Custer's "Last Stand" and the sinking of the Titanic. I will endeavor to show meaningful commonalties between these two apparently highly disparate events. I will link these commonalties to the foundations of science itself. Attendees will be forced to enjoy themselves.


Dr. Peter Hancock is Provost Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Psychology, the Institute for Simulation and Training, and at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Central Florida.

He received his B.Ed., M.Sc., at Loughborough University, with studies in Anatomy and Physiology Education, and Human-Machine systems. He received his Ph.D. in Human Motor Performance at the University of Illinois.

He founded and was the Director of the Human Factors Research Laboratory at the University of Minnesota, where he held appointments as Full Professor in the Departments of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Psychology, and Kinesiology as well as at the Cognitive Science Center and the Center on Aging Research. He currently holds a courtesy appointment as a Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and as an Adjunct Senior Research Scientist at the Transportation Institute of the University of Michigan.

Professor Hancock is the author of over four hundred refereed scientific articles and publications as well as editing numerous books including: Human Performance and Ergonomics in the Handbook of Perception and Cognition series, published by Academic Press in 1999 and Stress, Workload, and Fatigue, published in 2001 by Lawrence Erlbaum. He is the author of the 1997 book, Essays on the Future of Human-Machine Systems. He has been continuously funded by extramural sources for every year of his professional career, including support from NASA, NIH, NIA, FAA, FHWA, the US Navy and the US Army as well as numerous State and Industrial agencies.

He is the Principal Investigator on the recently awarded Multi-Disciplinary University Research Initiative, in which he will oversee $5 Million of funded research on stress, workload, and performance.

He was the Keynote Speaker for the International Ergonomics Association and the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society at the 2000 combined meeting in San Diego. His many honors include the Sir Frederic Bartlett Medal of the Ergonomics Society of Great Britain for Lifetime Achievement, awards from the American Psychological Association, The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, and the International Ergonomics Association. He is Fellow of the International Ergonomics Association, Fellow of the Ergonomics Society of Great Britain, and Fellow of and past President of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.