Melody Carswell

  • Associate Professor
  • CLP
  • Psychology
205 Kastle Hall
Research Interests:

My major research interests fall within the fields of engineering psychology and human factors engineering. In particular, I am interested in applying many of the principles and methods used in the design of large-scale systems, such as aerospace, process control, and military systems, to everyday products that have an immediate impact on the quality of our lives. For example, I am interested in studying how people interact with products such as home entertainment equipment, kitchen appliances, and communications products in order to learn how to make these systems safer and easier to use, and to ensure that they are usable by a wide range of people.

Most of my current research focuses on three specific topics. The first of these involves the development and application of design principles that focus on the way in which visual and haptic displays (and control panels) should be structured. In addition, I am interested in evaluating the techniques and tools that are currently used in human factors labs to test the usability of products and systems at various stages of development. Finally, I am also interested in the psychology of product design itself, and in helping designers implement design strategies that will enhance the creative process while increasing the usability of their designs. The following articles are selected from my full list of publications to represent ongoing research in of these areas.

Graduate Training

Ph.D. Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1988

Selected Publications: 


Usability Tools and Techniques

  • Gregory, L., Carswell, C.M., Stephens, E., Waters, S., Stevens, C. (2001). Enhancing the accuracy of customers’ judgments of product usability: Lessons from blind evaluators. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 45th Meeting, 702-706.
  • Stephens, E.C., Carswell, C.M. (2000). The use of older adults on preference panels: Evidence from the Kentucky Interface Preference Inventory. Cognitive Ergonomics, 4, 179-190.
  • Waters, S.E., Carswell, C.M., Stephens, E.C., Selwitz, A.S. (2001). Research ethics meet usability testing. Ergonomics in Design, 9, 14-20.

Display Design Principles

  • Carswell, C.M., Bates, J.R., Pregliasco, N.R., Lonon, A., Urban, J. (1998). Finding graphs useful: Linking preference to performance for one cognitive tool. Cognitive Technology, 3, 4-18.
  • Carswell, C.M., Wickens, C.D. (1996). Mixing and matching lower-level codes for object displays: Evidence for two sources of proximity compatibility, Human Factors, 38, 1-22.
  • Wickens, C.D., Carswell, C.M. (1995). The proximity compatibility principle: Its psychological foundations and its relevance to display design. Human Factors, 37, 473-494.
PubMed Publications*: 
  • Carswell, CM ;Lio, CH ;Grant, R.;Klein, MI ;Clarke, D.;Seales, WB ;Strup, S. "Hands-free administration of subjective workload scales: acceptability in a surgical training environment." Applied ergonomics 42, 1 (2010): 138-45. Details. Full text
  • Carswell, CM ;Clarke, D.;Seales, WB "Assessing mental workload during laparoscopic surgery." Surgical innovation 12, 1 (2005): 80-90. Details.
  • Carswell, CM "Choosing specifiers: an evaluation of the basic tasks model of graphical perception." Human factors 34, 5 (1992): 535-54. Details.
  • Carswell, CM ;Wickens, CD "The perceptual interaction of graphical attributes: configurality, stimulus homogeneity, and object integration." Perception & psychophysics 47, 2 (1990): 157-68. Details.
  • Berry, DT ;McConnell, JW ;Phillips, BA ;Carswell, CM ;Lamb, DG ;Prine, BC "Isocapnic hypoxemia and neuropsychological functioning." Journal of clinical and experimental neuropsychology 11, 2 (1989): 241-51. Details.
  • Carswell, CM ;Wickens, CD "Lateral task segregation and the task-hemispheric integrity effect." Human factors 27, 6 (1985): 695-700. Details.
  • Carswell, CM ;Webb, WB "Real and artificial dream episodes: comparison of report structure." Journal of abnormal psychology 94, 4 (1985): 653-5. Details. Full text
  • Stephens, EC ;Carswell, CM ;Schumacher, MM "Evidence for an elders' advantage in the naive product usability judgments of older and younger adults." Human factors 48, 3 (1969): 422-33. Details.
* Publications are automatically pulled from based on a user-specific query. Results may include incorrect citations. See: Tutorial on improving PubMed results.
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