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  Research :: Work Practice Simulation

Job descriptions and workflow diagrams idealize work practice-they differ in detail and often in quality from how people actually spend their time. Improving the design of work systems requires relating how organizations, procedures, facilities, and tools interact in practice. Work activities, the unit of analysis of work systems, include not only assigned jobs, but also "off-task" activities (e.g., waiting), non-intellectual motives (e.g., hunger), sustained goals (e.g., playful interaction), the interplay between individual and group goals and ambitions and the work-group's goals and ambitions, and coupled perceptual-motor dynamics (e.g., following someone).

Research at IHMC involves relating diverse analytic concepts such as scripts, human factors, behavior settings, ensemble, and situated action. A simulation model makes the relationships concrete, through the explicit modeling of groups of agents, body states (e.g., posture), beliefs, communications, tools, and the physical setting.

Comprehensive work practice simulations, combining social and psychological perspectives, improve the understanding of human cognition, promote learning, and will lead to better tools, including computer automation and robotics.