In Honor Of… Christopher Wickens
Honoring scientists who have made important and lasting contributions to the sciences of mind, brain, and behavior.
Christopher D. Wickens, PhD
Professor Emeritus, Department of Psychology
Professor and Head Emeritus, Aviation Human Factors Division
Associate Director Emeritus, Institute of Aviation
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
University of Colorado
Chris Wickens: scientist, scholar, educator, mentor, colleague, friend, mountain climber. Christopher Wickens was Head of the Aviation Human Factors Division (originally titled the Aviation Research Laboratory), Institute of Aviation, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign from 1983 -2005. He is currently working part time for Alion Science: MA&D Operations.
He received a B.A. from Harvard College in Physical Sciences in 1967. He received a M.A. from the University of Michigan in Psychology in 1969. He completed his Ph.D. under Dick Pew at Ann Arbor in 1974. He rose through the ranks from Assistant Professor to Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was Visiting Professor, Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership, U. S. Air Force Academy in 1983-1984, 1991-1992, and 1999-2000.
For over 30 years Chris Wickens’ research has focused on the interface between basic research and the applied area of human factors. His research is concerned with two primary themes. From a psychological perspective, one theme has been the study of human attention related to the performance of complex tasks. From a human factors perspective, the second theme relates to the study of how displays and the automation can be used to support the behavior of operators in high- risk systems. Professor Wickens and his students have focused their research interests primarily on aviation vehicle control. Through his career his research has bridged the intersection of these two themes in order to show how basic research in attention can account for human behavior in these complex systems. As a result of his research, he has developed two theories or models of attention: multiple resources theory developed in the early 1980s; and Salience, Effort, Expectancy and Value (SEEV) theory elaborating the selective aspects of attention in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Wickens’ research is internationally recognized. He has been invited to give the keynote address at a number of international conferences. He has supervised 38 Ph.D. theses, 64 master theses and 7 undergraduate honors theses. Many of Wickens’ graduate students went on to distinguished interdisciplinary careers in universities, government and industry.
He has authored or co-authored eight books including an introductory text in Psychology, an introduction to human factors engineering and the most widely used advanced textbook in engineering psychology and human performance. Two books on human factors in air traffic control have been published by the National Academy Press. The other three books are concerned with display technology, workload transition and displays. Wickens has published over 200 articles in refereed journals and book chapters.
Individuals Honoring Christopher Wickens:
Anthony Aretz, Christian Brothers University
Bobbie Bredfeldt, University of Iowa
Key Dismukes, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Arthur Fisk, Georgia Institute of Technology
Richard Gill, Applied Cognitive Sciences
Peter Hancock, University of Central Florida
Alice F. Healy, University of Colorado at Boulder
William Horrey, Liberty Mutual Insurance Research Institute for Safety
Patricia Jones, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Kenneth Laughery, Rice University
Yili Liu, University of Michigan
Anne Mavor, National Research Council
* Richard Pew, BBN Technologies
Wendy Rogers, Georgia Institute of Technology
Stanley Roscoe, Aero Innovation, Inc.
F. Jacob Seagull, University of Maryland
Donald Talleur, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
* Henry Taylor, University of Illinois
Pamela Tsang, Wright State University
Sharon Yeakel, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Yei-Yu Yeh, National Taiwan University
* The FABBS Foundation would like to thank Dr. Richard Pew and Dr. Henry Taylor for nominating Dr. Wickens for this honor and for leading the effort to spread the word about his nomination.