Prof. Dr. J. M. C. Schraagen


  • Resilience Engineering


I stand for the knowledge area "Human Factors" in the broad sense. Human factors, in my definition, is the applied science that comes up with design solutions to ensure that people can achieve their (work-related) goals. Because of inherent limitations in available time, knowledge and attention, people cannot always achieve their goals. These restrictions are indicated by the concept of bounded rationality: people always have to deal with a limited rationality. Human factors is trying to stretch these boundaries by supporting people. This can be done via automation, training, better information exchange between people and transforming large volumes of data into meaningful information.

In the figure below, I have limited the broad field of human factors to those areas in which I am working. At the core of my research is the objective of stretching the limits of rationality (enhancing bounded rationality). I do this in particular in areas that pose high demands on professionals: Defense & Safety, Environment, Healthy Living. The professionals who work in these areas have to deal with time pressure, large amounts of uncertain information, complex environments with often conflicting interests, teamwork and risky decisions. In this dynamic sphere of influence, professionals (and non-professionals) may be supported by new developments in the areas of:

  1. Adaptive automation: smart forms of dynamic function allocation in which, depending on the operator state, functions can be assigned dynamically and flexibly to either people or automation, with the objective of obtaining an optimal workload of the operators so that they can continue to achieve their targets.
  2. Accelerated Learning: training regimes that accelerate the achievement of high levels of competency. With modern technologies such as 'serious games' traditional bottlenecks in achieving expert levels of performance (10 years or 10,000 hours of deliberate practice) can be shortened. This is of great importance in all fields where professionals regularly switch functions and still need to achieve a high level of expertise.
  3. Smart Visualizations: People are poor at processing large amounts of data, but are excellent at interpreting patterns. Developments in ICT create a data explosion, but the attention and time of people are too limited to keep up with this explosion. An abundance of information therefore creates a scarcity of attention. Systems should not be developed to burden people with more information, but rather systems that filter out irrelevant information, or at least allow people to separate relevant from irrelevant information. Smart visualizations of large volumes of data can achieve this.
  4. Resilient decision making: sensemaking and decision-making processes often run smoothly in routine situations, but are less resilient to unexpected situations. In these situations, resilience can be sustainably increased by having knowledge exchange run more smoothly

Curriculum Vitae



“Het Drachtster Lyceum”, gymnasium β


University of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada


University of Groningen, BA Philosophy (cum laude)


University of Manchester (internship)


University of Groningen, MA Psychology


Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA


University of Amsterdam, PhD Cognitive Psychology, under supervision of Prof. dr. J.J. Elshout. Thesis: “The generality and specificity of expertise”.

Work experience + projects:

2015 Principal Scientist, specialist


Part-time professor of Applied Cognitive Psychology, University of Twente


Knowledge manager TNO Defence, Security, and Safety (technology portfolio management; national and international collaboration)


Account manager Public Safety; senior project leader


Foreign exchange scientist at the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division, Orlando, FL


Junior and medior project leader


2012: Dr. Ing. Leo van Breda Award for most successful application of Human-System Interaction. Project: Walrus Engineering Support Project (WESP).

2013: Dr. Ing. Leo van Breda Award for most successful application of Human-System Interaction. Project: More patient safety through safer interfacing.

University of Twente “UT-afstudeerscriptieprijs” awarded for best Master thesis for the Faculty of Behavioral Sciences in 2011-2012, written by Wendy Vos, supervised by me. Title of Master thesis: “Quantitative and efficient usability testing in high-risk system development: Under diversity of user groups”.

Selected past projects


Mindfulness and Security Awareness (Royal Netherlands Military Police).


Patient Safety (Pieken in de Delta funding). Consortium of TNO, University Medical Center Utrecht, Pontes Medical, Zuidzeven, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, University Medical Center Amsterdam, Dutch Game Garden, and Task Force Innovation Utrecht.


Cognitive aspects of friendly fire incidents (European Defence Agency).


Future naval submarines (Office of Naval Research).


Human-System Task Integration (Netherlands Ministry of Defence).


COMBINED systems: Decision support in crisis management (Senter Novem)


VIRTUE: Virtual Team User Environments (EU FP6).


Tactical Picture Agent (Office of Naval Research).


GIDS: Generic Intelligent Driver Support (EU FP4)