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May 20, 2021

E206 - COVID-19 ‘Cave Syndrome’

Recorded live on May 19th, 2021, hosted by Nick R…

Recorded live on May 19th, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome & Erin Richie.


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  • Constantly feeling overwhelmed with work - need advice | JessicaPerelman | /r/userexperience
  • Difference between Experimental Psych and HFEng | randomacctr20 | /r/humanfactors
  • Is it normal to feel like you dont know anything? | saddittygyal | /r/userexperience


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welcome to human factors cast your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design

hello everybody welcome back to another episode of human factors cast we are recording this live on may 19 2021 uh i'm your host nick rome and i'm joined today by Erin richie how are you good how are you nick good great to have you on the show again blake is out this week he'll be back next week um yeah so let's just jump right into it uh we're getting into human factors news

yes this is the part of the show all about human factors news uh this is where we talk about everything related to the field of human factors this could be anything related to medical privacy security whatever it is as long as it relates to the field of human factors it's fair game for us to sit here and talk about uh what do we got up first this week erin so we're going to talk about cave syndrome i don't know if anyone else has heard of this with uh kovid having gone on in the past year or so coming up on a year and a half that's crazy to think about but just a little blurb on it here so after a year in isolation many people who've developed an intimate understanding of what it means to socially isolate are afraid to return to their former lives despite being fully vaccinated there's even a name for their experience the clinical sounding cave syndrome jaclyn gallin a professor of psycho psychiatry and behavioral sciences at northwestern university says that adjusting to the new normal whatever it may be is going to take time the pandemic related changes created a lot of fear and anxiety because of the risk of illness and death along with repercussions in many areas of life she says that even though a person may be vaccinated they still may find it difficult to let go of that fear because they're overestimating the risk and probability in addition a recent study by the american psychological association reported that 49 of surveyed adults anticipated being uncomfortable about returning to in-person interactions when the pandemic ends when it ends it has not ended yet people it found that 48 of those who have received a covet vaccine said that they felt the same way

so Erin where where do you fall on this spectrum of feeling safe and comfortable with going out no mask all that stuff and and uh to i want to stay in my house for the rest of my life because i'm deathly afraid of everything that's going on where do you stand on that gamut i feel like i'm pretty dead in the middle um so until i was vaccinated definitely did not like being around people um as of last friday we're two weeks out from our second shot so we're my fiance and i are fully vaccinated um which that actually is eased my fears a lot we went out to eat for the first time in over a year um at an outdoor restaurant but um so you know being outside i feel pretty safe now that i'm vaccinated i don't feel pressured to wear a mask everywhere especially with the new cdc guidance and knowing that i can't transmit it the probability of me transmitting it to someone else even if i had it even if i'm vaccinated against it is low to my understanding um don't don't quote me people i'm just explaining my viewpoints he said so so um yeah i feel i feel pretty comfortable now but i don't like going into grocery stores where i have the impression that there's a bunch of people that are unvaccinated like i don't like being inside with people that are unmasked that it makes me feel like there's still a chance which is i don't know yeah so so i'm at this i'm at this weird juncture here between the two gamuts i feel like i'm right in the middle where you are too but for different reasons so you know i'm i am fully vaccinated my wife is about um i don't know a couple days from being fully vaccinated she got her second shot on saturday it's uh pfizer so it's only a week out right so um you know we're we're almost there and myself personally you know i feel like i don't really necessarily have to wear a mask outdoors i still do it to be polite if i'm passing somebody on the sidewalk or something i do it for other people's peace of mind it's not for me um but you know if i'm if i'm within like even 20 feet of somebody i'll still mask up just to give that other person the peace of mind because i do understand that it's like it's a huge thing right so from my perspective um and from my understanding as well you know i i listen to an interview with fauci where it's incredibly unlikely that you'll transmit something so from my perspective it's it's like i don't care to mask and and right now i have like a massive piece of mind for myself that i'll be okay and for my wife she'll be okay but we also have a small child and while it's incredibly unlikely that he'll get it we've still seen heartbreaking videos of children getting it and so we are still incredibly careful with going to places that are um or coming within contact to people who are not masking and exposing herself to situations that could be um high risk for him right so it's it's a weird uh world right now because he's way too young to get it they haven't done the testing on infants yet so we're thinking that he might get it in the next couple years is the timeline but so it's gonna be this weird limbo for us to navigate um while the pandemic is ending and i say that in quotation marks for anyone who's just listening the pandemic is ending um i feel like there's um a lot of opportunity for things to go wrong if you don't uh you know kind of keep in consideration that there are people who cannot get vaccinated for legitimate reasons right like testing hasn't been conducted on children yet um and there are people who have adverse reactions to vaccines that's not an excuse for you to uh use it as a fear-mongering thing and be anti-vaxx like i think you know vaccines are still um incredibly valuable and useful and um anyway that's that's kind of where i'm at on this whole spectrum but i totally get what this article is saying here this one's from um scientific american and they are basically saying that those uh the the changes that we've over came in the last year have really altered the way that we view going out into public and and kind of has shaped how we as a society now favor or not necessarily favor there are people who definitely want to get out there um but it you know there's this this subset of people who need to be or who are uncomfortable with going out to in-person interactions and um you know to the point where uh what 48 of people who receive the vaccine feel the same way that's that's an insane statistic to me well you know my my mom is high risk um and she's vaccinated but having that high risk factor and you know no vaccine is perfect right um but there's science that that they can help um so i think that small percent risk is is in her mind a lot just knowing that if she were to get it that um her chances of survival are less than like the average person right um so i i know that's really ways heavy on her mind and it's made my the way my entire family dynamic interacts is kind of different because of that right so i um during like before there was a vaccine and during kind of like heavy covid um shawn and i made decisions to like see our family right but we we quarantined for two weeks ahead of time like all the interactions were outside like um and we literally we would like grow have groceries delivered and not do anything for two weeks and stay and literally stay in our house until we saw that you know family member so um coming off of that and getting if you're somebody that really um made an effort to alter your life and like from our standpoint you know we just really didn't want to get anyone else sick that was kind of weighing on our our minds the most i think um because we we actually did end up with covid i don't know how um because we were pretty careful but you know we were just so worried about um other people and and not wanting to negatively affect someone else's life for so long now it's kind of like even just um i'm kind of almost hoping that masks become like a thing that some of the population reverts to if they're not feeling well like where i'm asking to work if you feel like you have the common cold you know i don't know um it just seems polite and i know that in some other cultures that happens but i feel like a lot of us have just altered our way of life so long and there's kind of these two extremes like it doesn't surprise me that this cave syndrome has come up and it kind of makes sense if you make such a big change in your life you know humans kind of are adverse to change um and so why wouldn't you just keep on that that path um i don't know i feel like i definitely enjoy having less weekend plans and things too it's kind of a nice change of pace in life almost yeah i think i think there's certain people who almost enjoyed when lockdown happened right where it's like oh yeah now i all these obligations that i had now i can just stay at home and not have to worry about going out or how i look at the office every day because now i'm at home um i'm doing video calls so i just need to dress from the torso up you know like i think there's a subset of people who enjoy that and it's mostly introverts who don't really care to interact socially um you know as as frequently as extroverts and uh i definitely considered myself in that you know there's that whole meme going around right where it's like oh what this is this is uh not normal behavior it's like it's the spongebob meme i don't anyway it's it's one of those ones um but i think i think it goes to show that this is a this pandemic is going to have lasting effects on the way that we interact uh with society um and i think this cave syndrome is just one of those uh aspects and i i want to keep focused on this cave syndrome but i mean there are a lot of other aspects of this that are going to um really shape the way that we work and interact in the future right like people can work from home now and it's been shown to be successful in some industries and what does that mean people relocate right you know now now you can work at the company that you work at and be in any state where the cost of living could be lower and so we'll get like this big shake-up of demographics um nationally you know and but focusing on the cave syndrome part of it it's also going to shape the way that we interact with others and i think uh i think this fear and anxiety about going out and interacting with other people when it's almost a demand from society is going to be a really difficult thing to overcome for a lot of people uh myself included like if there's a way to do something virtually i will do it virtually right now like i said for um for the benefit of my son who is not protected you know once he is protected then i'm going to feel a lot better about the whole thing but for right now it feels very much like a okay i'm good my wife is good but like this is gonna be um a weird a couple years while this gets you know tested on on younger and younger children uh you know when is his age group coming up i don't know um so it kind of feels like still there's no end in sight and that's probably just overprotective papa over here like i don't know it's it's a it's a weird thing so like my anxiety stems from lack of protection from my son even though it's incredibly um you know incredibly uh not likely that he will get it it's still just something that's like i i've seen what happens to children that get it and it's it's horrifying um so i don't know i kind of wonder two you know school-aged kids this this article specifically talks about cape syndrome in adults right right but we're coming up on there's going to be a generation of kids who are at different developmental points where they were pretty much isolated for over a year um so i'm really interested in the effects that like this cave syndrome will have on an entire generation um because we're i mean you know nick like you're in my generation we're already kind of maybe headed down the cave centre road to begin with we have all these virtual opportunities to like hang out with our friends um i was just talking to my brother this past weekend about how um i've made friends online for the first time because of the pandemic like i got really into dog instagram um and i have people there that i would legit call my friends like one of them just had twins i sent them a baby gift i've never met these people in person and um we were kind of talking about how mind-blowing that is right um and i wonder if you know if our generation is already embracing these virtual opportunities and maybe this kind of cave syndrome lifestyle where in person you're with a couple people and you can get still get the social interaction kind of elsewhere um what kind of effect is that going to have on you know this next generation that maybe it's it's not a choice and it's not because they have this new technology they want to check out and social media is newer and whatever but um it's just because it's literally like what they had to do while they were growing up and it's how they learned to socialize um uh it'll just be really interesting to see how that plays out if it if it has any effect um because we just don't know yet yeah and i mean this is all really new right and and i think this is paired with the decision from the cdc to list some of the or not lift but uh to recommend certain things right so as of this recording the cdc has said basically that you can wear a mat if you're vaccinated you can um basically enjoy life as if the pandemic doesn't exist and i'm paraphrasing there but the the the recommendation or they basically say that you know you're unlikely to transmit to others you're unlikely to get variants or be infected with variants of the virus um and you're un unlikely to uh contract it and even in the cases where you do contract it you're unlikely to die and so i just gotta jump in and caveat so nick and i are not immunologists you know we've got stuff on our own these are these are our opinions on everything um we are not experts in the field so take what we say with a grain of salt and also every state has different guidelines right now and how they're dealing with the cdc guidance so this is our thoughts and how we're living our personal lives but we are not experts in this field we're talking about how it relates to psychology just want to be clear thank you for that disclaimer Erin so yeah i think um yeah so so that's what the cdc says i think a lot of people have pushed back and said you know well that's not necessarily true everywhere it might be the national rate is at you know a point where it's okay but in some communities where there's a lot of people of color disadvantaged people who can't get vaccines as easily as other communities it might not be as a smart idea to do that and i think a lot of people are worried that they can't trust other people to you know it's like sure i trust the guidance from the cdc but i can't trust other people and that's the issue um to you know i can't trust them to to be fully vaccinated like if you have one shot is somebody gonna jump off and say um yeah i'm fully vaccinated even though i have one shot or even you know an anti-vaxxer someone who comes in and says uh oh well um i'm okay to go out because the cdc says if you're vaccinated you have a mask and so there's like all this you know are we going to incorporate a vaccine passport or some way to verify that you have a vaccine um to enforce some of these situations so i think there's um still a lot of worry from people despite this new guidance and i think as it relates to cave syndrome right there's a couple things i want to make sure we talk about here before we move on is one what can we do to combat this cave syndrome and two um how does this new guidance uh impact the way people are thinking about it and i think the fact that the guidance is fairly new is a big deal for a lot of people feeling this way and i think this is probably why a lot of people feel this way is because um restrictions are lifting and so it's like do we go back to that life we were living um or do we continue to protect ourselves and wear a mask uh despite what the cdc says and it's like your level of comfort right well then you brought like you said three really interesting things right there right so you talk about trust um anxiety and then like people kind of continuing to do what they want to do right and those are three really um interesting topics and human factors especially when you start to talk about uis and all the other things you know why do people trust in the cdc or why don't they and that's going to have a huge effect on how cave syndrome comes into play um and then you know continuing on um you know what motivates people to do things and i my dad said something interesting over the weekend that like he's gonna continue to wear a mask even though it might be okay because it's the right thing to do and so um and that's you know that's his opinion but um when you think about psychology and like what motivates people and you know do is do they have this intrinsic need to be good um do they have an intrinsic need to help others do they um have an intrinsic need to you know fight for their own family and and things and and make sure they're i don't want to say selfish because that's not really right but ensure that they are healthy um so i think all those factors really come into play when you're considering you know will somebody have this cave syndrome or not and then um the fact that there's also like this anxiety that comes into play right um so you know are you already prone to be an anxious person are you like me and you have an anxiety disorder so then if something like this comes up and you are worried about the world and your own health and everything else like are you more prone to continue to stay at home um it's just really fascinating all these these three things that i remember studying in school and that often come up as topics when we're trying to get people to accept a new ui um reflect here as well right so how how do we how do we continue to use what we know about those three subjects anxiety trust and um what motivates people to maybe help get messaging out there that it really is okay and help people with cave syndrome feel like they can live their lives again if they're vaccinated um and help people that maybe don't understand how serious some of this stuff is um care about others like how can we we play at those three um psychological phenomena yeah i wanna i wanna touch briefly on what the article recommends for this and i cause i think it's absolute [ __ ] and i wanna i i wanna say it because it's it makes me frustrated because i i like i want something actionable that people can take away from this and it's it's like if this is what the article says i'm quoting directly if a person has symptoms of exhaustion depression or anxiety uh she advises measures that provide a sense of purpose in life like meditation faith work prayer playing or listening to music okay fine yes all those things are helpful but like that alone i don't think is a sufficient answer they do go on to say you know treatment for more extreme levels of anxiety uh could require effective psychotherapy with a mental health professional who can offer cognitive therapy or other treatments that gradually expose a person to stressful situation to resolve their fears and medication is also a solution but i feel like um that's not a good enough solution to this problem it's like listen to music or you know find god again or you know pray or meditate or something it just doesn't seem like it's enough it's kind of like let's throw everything at the wall and see what sticks versus actionable feedback that people can take like hey maybe to easier anxieties maybe follow the cdc and see read what they say you know like actionable things that they can do i think this list is [ __ ] and and i i it's a scientific american i hate it sorry it's such a new thing though and they it is yeah they probably don't have like we know the data exactly like preliminarily they know those things will help right and as somebody with an anxiety disorder um that i've been you know diagnosed with since 2015 those things do help especially in the short term and so you know if you're if this is a new syndrome for you and it's your first time really feeling like clinical anxiety um you know maybe that will alleviate some of it or maybe that'll kind of you know solve it for some people mental health comes in colds or chronic conditions just like physical health does but um yeah i feel like they just need more data to have better solutions

because and maybe we'll see more data as this emerges it's more of a prominent syndrome i feel like if 48 percent of people who've received the vaccine feel the same way that they're still not okay with leaving their house um you know we might have to do a math study to help introduce people to the world again yeah i guess i guess i say it's [ __ ] because it's stated matter of factly like this stuff will help um and and i think it does vary on person to person and i think there are much more actionable feedback even from somebody who is not a mental health professional um i'm a psychologist not a mental health professional and so like even from my perspective i feel like there are things that you can do like i said like follow the cdc's uh posts um stay up to date with what the latest numbers are in your area because that might help you feel reassured that maybe you're gonna be okay um maybe there are you know the vaccination rates are high where you are and that's something that you can go out once you have that information and feel better about the whole thing and um you know i'm not stating that matter of factly i'm stating that as maybe this will help and i think that's the way that's that's the way they should have phrased this um also not everybody here in the united states or even globally has access to things like mental health professionals so to to state that as a solution also feels a little um off the mark to me but i you know i i don't know it's it's it's an interesting problem that has come up because of this thing that it's one of those unintended side effects of uh this global pandemic that maybe we didn't even think about when it first happened um and it's it's kind of crazy to think about right like a postcode world is is weird and much different than we thought it was going to be you know we all thought life was going to go back to normal after two weeks of lockdown and now it's a year and a half later and um weird psychological things are happening to us as we go forward well i think that this is an area of human factors that people often forget exist you know strategic messaging understanding um a local national global community understanding how to get messaging out that reaches the majority or speaks to the majority um you know i feel like this cave syndrome is one area where you know you could really hire um for like public health experts could also work with and hire human factors experts to really reconsider you know marketing on the the science that's coming out both on the pandemic and on ways to alleviate the the outcomes of the continuous outcomes of the pandemic yeah um i i don't know i i uh i don't know if i have any other additional thoughts on this i i hate to leave it as like there's nothing we can do it's just we do need more data and maybe following some of the cdc's guidance and understanding how it affects you locally might help any other last thoughts on this Erin before we move on nope i don't think so all right well thank you to our friends over at scientific american for this story and thank you to our patrons for choosing our new story this week um we're going to take a quick break uh and uh we'll be back to see what's going on in the human factors community right after this

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it came from yes this is where we search all over the internet to bring you topics the internet is talking about the the community the human factors community is talking about um really any topic is fair game as long as it uh as long as we have something to really talk about here on the show so uh this week we got a couple of reddit posts um i'm gonna read these here and pass it over to you Erin uh once i read these and you'll give me an answer so we're gonna start with this first one here from uh jessica pearlman on the user experience subreddit this is constantly feeling overwhelmed with work uh i have been in the industry for a few years now and i still find myself overwhelmed with complexity and not knowing what to do next i don't have this problem with more bounded and constrained projects where the problem and the outcome is more or less clear but i can't seem to graduate to the next level where i can comfortably tackle complex vague and interrelated problems which comprises most of my projects what are some strategies and tips that i can use to manage this feeling and get [ __ ] done Erin how how do you get [ __ ] done well um so the first thing i would recommend to this person is like do you have a mentor in the field because if not you need one um i've i mentioned earlier in the pre-show i think that elise who's been on the show a few times is one of my mentors and then i have a couple more people that i lean on at work um and like just kind of level setting with them and letting them know that you want to graduate and get to that level can sometimes ease a lot of um worry and anxiety you might have over this and just let you know that that's normal like you can't become an expert in your field in a couple years it takes time um you don't know what you don't know and it's okay to keep learning um and like one of my more senior mentors was just telling me the other day that like she's just finally getting to the point in her career that um she's starting to really feel like she she kind of knows what she's doing and she told me like fake it till you make it just be confident and go for it um and i think there's something to that right um i had a really tough project this week that i was working on and um i confessed to the person i was working with they're like i'm i'm sorry i just i'm not sure that i know what's going on i'm trying my best to like here's what i came up with and they were like we all feel that way um you did a great job and i was like oh okay i had no idea so talking about it is the first step because we're just in one of those fields where problems are really complex um and i i mean we're expected as human factors engineers and human factors professionals um applied cognitive scientists to learn about somebody else's career in like you know days weeks months um and become experts in it and then explain it to other people to to explain where the shortfalls are and and what they need and so um you know i think it's normal to feel that way is my point nick yeah yeah i do i think your first point about talking and communicating is is pretty key here and i think a lot of this can stem from understanding the problem space um you know understanding what your role is on a project specifically uh you know you're talking this this person here is talking about complex vague interrelated problems um and to that i would say well get clarification on what the problem statement is what is it that you're trying to do ask questions until you know exactly what you need to do um ask questions of the people not only the users but ask questions of the people who are writing things like the requirements what do they have in mind for this thing ask ask questions of the people who are uh commissioning the work the clients right is it for are you in-house with a large tech company and you have a product manager that you can talk to and bounce ideas off of until you get some clarification or are you working as a contractor for somebody else like that you can just ask and get clarification on what they're looking for a lot of this communication can help narrow down the scope when something seems like it's a big problem to tackle and it can be a huge problem to tackle but if you break it down into chunks uh manageable chunks that are all interrelated see what i did there um then i think it becomes less vague and uh you know the complexity might not go away but you'll also have a better idea of how to tackle it um i think there's also the organization bit right of of um laying out the problem space of of all the things that you need to do or that needs to be done for a product and kind of manage it through some task tracking software right you can use that as a tool or just write it all out on a whiteboard and cross it off there are many ways that you can track work um but i feel like complex problems need to be broken down into these buckets of work so that way you can tackle one chunk at a time and that way if you're tackling one chunk at a time it becomes less and less of a sort of insurmountable task and becomes more of like chunks of work right this is what the whole agile framework is kind of based off of is is breaking down one big chunk of work into smaller chunks that you can do in like little bits and pieces so that's that's kind of where i'm at with this um i know projects can seem like really really uh intimidating when you come into them and they're they're just so big like where do you start right i mean i've definitely had that moment where i'm like okay well this is going to be a this is going to be something

yeah any other thoughts on this one Erin before we move on um and just i don't know find your inner confidence too and i know that's easier said than done but like you know even if it doesn't feel like it you're doing you're probably doing good work um and so just kind of find comfort in that and those small wins too like it's okay if you don't know everything yeah so to recap uh ask questions find a mentor break things down into chunks and find your confidence all right we'll get into the next one here difference between experimental psych and human factors engineering this one's from random actor 20 on the human factors subreddit they go on to write what's the difference between experimental psychology and human factors engineering i'd imagine they're similar but could a graduate of experimental psychology be able to find work as an engineer or would you need to go to school for that are the classes essentially the same besides less math for experimental psych graduates i would imagine since it's not engineering and if someone has any experience how much math do you take in a human factors engineering program side note i'm genuinely curious do any schools offer a solid program okay we'll not answer that so uh let's talk about um let's talk about the first half of this question here uh experimental psych and human factors engineering Erin what do you think okay so they're definitely different um i feel like experimental psychology really is about making new discoveries in psychology it's more like classical psychology um you know

when you think about like old cartoons rats in a cage kind of learnings um interbox right human factors engineering is completely different and it's a term i get a little hyper sensitive on because i i went through classical engineering training so i have a degree in mechanical engineering and then i did a master's in applied cognitive science and human factors so i feel like this person is perhaps asking they seem to understand there's a lot of math in engineering but um i feel like this person is perhaps asking about being a human factors professional versus experimental psychology is maybe where they're kind of going with the question um but human factors engineering and practice what i really view it as and feel like there's a strong difference between human factors professionals and human factors engineering is not really consistent with how it does in fact work in an industry so um but human factors engineering to me you have some sort of engineering background and you're really um ui consumer product um similar things focused um and you're working on things that people will likely be using every day and making sure that you're not you know putting a push handle on a pull door kind of stuff whereas experimental psychology you're you know looking for those new discoveries um you know looking to turn theories to fact um that kind of avenue would you would you agree nick i so for me i think of experimental psych as like academia and i think of human factors engineering is industry and i think there's overlap there um especially if you're in like cognitive psychology i think that you could very easily navigate from a position in academia into um you know a human factors engineering role in uh industry where you know maybe there's the the your specialty of knowledge your your research area you know you could take that and apply it to uh some human factors engineering aspects and that might be the gateway right so i i don't i think of them as two separate things i think there's overlap certainly with the psychology bit i think the the thing for me um and i know people get hung up about the engineering term um like i i've definitely met people who are like that's not engineering they're not writing requirements uh the way they should be writing requirements um and that's i mean that's fair but like understand how to write requirements that's if that's part of your job then understand like i don't know i feel i feel like the human factors engineering piece is being able to apply a tool kit that you learn in school or on the job to a variety of different problem spaces and i think experimental psych is more along the lines of hey we don't know about this area let's test something to figure out if that is indeed the case and that's kind of the difference that i see between the two it's like applying a toolkit towards something versus uh seeing if something is um i don't know feasible if that's the word for it or see if it's true right yeah i think we're both in agreement that there's there's definitely differences and we're also in agreement that you know you probably could you with experimental psychology background you probably could do human factors engineering and with human factors engineering background you probably could do experimental psychology um but there are different strengths in the different degrees and their question about math if you go if you go about human factors engineering the way i did you get the actual like classical um engineering degree first yeah there's going to be a hell of ton of math um but i can't i don't i don't think i can really speak to if you go classical psychology into um or you know they're starting to come out with bachelor of science programs and human factors now too it's not just a master's only program um so i have a hard time answering that question like if you get a bachelor's in human factors engineering how that might differ from a bachelor's in psychology yeah i can speak to that a little bit so i mean at least from my perspective um i was fortunate enough to have uh professors that were very math focused in terms of like research methods and statistics and statistical analysis and so from my perspective i feel like there was enough there uh to understand that and then once i got into the human factors program you know we talked about things like um specific math equations when it comes to things like ergonomics where you have the human body acting on forces or forces acting on the human body that dramatically change the way a human can interact with a product machine interface that type of thing um and so that's i think where the most equation heavy thing is of course there is a ton of math involved with something like uh perception of color or even um you know distance betw optimal distance between interfaces and that's more like human computer interaction you can certainly go that route um to find you know what the optimal distance between two displays are or that type of thing and you can get very matrixy with that but i think just generally um if you're looking at the uh sort of human factors toolkit you know there's there's a variety of methods that you can employ to interact with users and um i i really struggle with this one because you could go down that route and you could work at a company that really wants to know the focal point of you know like what's the optimal um what's the optimal font size based on how far away the operator is sitting from the display and that's a lot of math involved with that um but you can also go this looks good enough i can see it are they going to be able to see it under these specific lighting conditions that they're in i don't know but that's something that you go out and test and you can do your research in those situations and i'm speaking from experience here i've had a project where i actually had to do that right there's some specific lighting uh conditions they were under a blue light and so it's um we had to take that into consideration with what font color and size we used on the screen they're sitting a distance away from the computer there's a lot of math involved in that um with developing like a style guide for that type of thing uh but you know that's then once that math is done then you just employ it um in in whatever interface that fits the bill for that specific application so that's that's kind of where i'm at with that um anything else to add to this Erin yeah i would agree with you and i think i would just add um all the time my one of my mentors always says like you know psychology is as much a science as it is an art and so i think whichever field um you go into there's definitely art mixed with the science you're not going to get away from math either way yeah you'll be all right how about that um all right so we got one more here uh this is is it normal to feel like you don't know anything this is from this is from uh saturday gal saturday gal on the user experience subreddit sorry about butchering your name uh i have a few interviews coming up in my first job or internship uh at first i was excited but now i feel like i'm not ready i feel like i'm a good junior uh good for a junior position especially compared to my peers but if i get hired at one of these places i'm scared i'm not going to know what to do or where to start i feel like when i graduated i got thrown off of a ledge and now i'm in free fall maybe i'm experiencing imposter syndrome and if i uh and if i am it's terrifying what if i get hired and i can't deliver what if my work sucks what if i can't give them what they need i don't know how to run a workshop i don't know how to do a lot of things i'm used to school solo projects i don't have the confidence any confidence in interviews i project is 100 a lie i'm scared they'll hire me and find out Erin have you this is an imposter syndrome question and uh it's like how to overcome that have you experienced imposter syndrome every day um

i feel like um is it normal to feel like you don't know anything needs to meet up with constantly feeling overwhelmed with ux work and like take them on as a mentor and then constantly feeling overwhelmed with ux work needs their own mentors we need to like love connect these two in the ux community

um yeah imposter syndrome is a real thing um it can be difficult to acclimate to that and what it means for you in a new position especially if you're junior um and you know people just because you're junior doesn't mean you don't it doesn't mean imposter syndrome goes away uh you know even even years into your professional career you can still experience that especially if you're working with a new company and they do things slightly different than another company that you worked for you can very easily step into a role and be like okay well i'm way out of my element here this is way different than i thought it was going to be and still experience imposter centrum i think for me the thing that helped with imposter syndrome is uh understanding that the place that hired you hired you for a reason um even if the confidence that you projected is 100 a lie uh you know i think they still understand that at some level um you are qualified for that job and i think everyone should kind of take that at face value like people are very selective with who they hire uh i i i can think of very few instances where somebody slipped through the cracks and was a bad hire um and when they were it was a really bad hire uh but like i i mean people do their due diligence on you and you have to understand that you know they they understand what they're getting with somebody coming straight out of college they know that you don't have the years of experience that somebody else might have um and so imposter syndrome is something that you should experience almost i mean like if you don't experience it i almost feel like you have too much confidence it's like you should constantly be guessing whether or not the thing that you are doing is correct um or or i i wouldn't say guess you should constantly evaluate whether the thing that you're doing is correct um uh i don't know where where are you at with all this erin um well i'm just reflecting on their first question is it normal to feel like you don't know anything yeah that's normal um yeah but it's also normal and important to realize that you know you didn't need to be that hard on yourself everybody is new at some point um everybody you know takes time to build their confidence and like i said about this constantly feeling overwhelmed with ux work um blurb you know like you don't become an expert in your field overnight and if somebody's expecting you to do that then like you know look for other employment but um you know it's it's okay and i think a lot of us feel that way i feel that way i've been in i've been in the professional setting for two years and i still feel like i'm learning and there's more i can know and you know i wonder if jimmy joe sitting next to me is killing it more than i and like i think that's just kind of human especially um it sounds like you did really well in school and you were really well at getting your work done on your own um you know that's kind of the way i was in school too and so um i think if you're just kind of naturally already that way where you're like you know am i being the best i can be when you get into the real world and you're you're doing a job for the first time it's normal to continue to ask yourself am i being the best i can be and the answer is probably yes most of the time and that's okay all right any other closing thoughts on this one i think imposter syndrome is a uh a terrible disease that we need to eradicate but that's just me

have uh faith in yourself right you're doing the right thing and they hired you for a reason that's yes all right uh all right so let's go ahead and get into one more thing uh this is self-explanatory uh it's the opportunity to talk about one more thing uh erin what do you have for your one more thing so my one more thing is um so i'm planning a wedding right now i i mentioned earlier since last time we talked i've gotten engaged and um i'm not one of those girls that's been imagining it since i was like five um so i i succumbed to the the targeted facebook ads of um trying the not app and i was like not really expecting much kind of like uh you see this all over the place whatever and was really surprised at how user-friendly it is um like it was really nice i ended up recommending it to a friend who's also getting married soon i was like wow so what what makes it user-friendly is it just like it gives you step by step of like hey these are things that you should think about for this thing and yeah um so it has an entire place where you can you can lay out your budget and it has suggested like you can add or delete whatever category you want but it also has suggested categories that people think about like that they've got from statistics of people using this app or whatever i assume and then they also have a checklist of things you should be considering and when based on your estimated like date you're gonna get married so they lay out like how early you should be looking into hotels and your venue and all this other stuff and it's really nice like it's just this really long checklist and you can look at all the things you've done and all the things that you have to do and then they also have this um really cool tool to build like a free website to you know put all your information for your guests or whatever which i thought was weird and hokey at first but then i really like got into it just because it was so easy to build um and it looks nice and i don't you know i don't like coding um i know i said earlier i have an engineering background but like coding is not my thing and so like i literally i built this whole website on this phone app and like you can pull it up on your computer and it looks nice and that just blew my mind like how knowing how hard coding is and that they made it so easy that you can just like anybody having a wedding can make this little website it's just a pretty cool tool yeah that's awesome i like i i imagine is it let me ask you a question is it like where you put in certain parameters like i want 50 guests and my budget is this many dollars and i want it at this location and does it come up with like oh hey here's a venue that fits your budget and can accommodate this many guests is it like that there's also a function like that yeah um and it'll suggest everything like photographers florist venue um even officiants it's like and it and it kind of like it targets the ads based on sort of where you are in your um checklist which is kind of cool like they it's just really a smart app and they've thought it through and as somebody that really thought it was going to be hokey and stupid i am impressed and they have they have convinced me that they are definitely worthwhile and if you're getting married you should check that out not a sponsor yeah well we'll put a link down in the description below uh for me uh my one more thing is a fitness tracking app so i was actually out of so i got a couple things to talk about so i was actually out of town uh last week and um while i was out my um my samsung galaxy active whatever whatever it was it it messed up on me i think i went swimming and the screen started crapping out on me so um like i didn't have a fitness tracker that i could reliably check out you know and and that's really important to me because it's how i track oh you know was i sitting on the couch all day or actually did i get up and start moving and um kind of track those types of things and uh so for me i i guess i got the samsung one back in 2017-2018 i've had it for a couple years i think i've had it for three years so it's 2018. before that i was exclusively fitbit just because i wanted to keep it all in the same ecosystem i was willing to like look elsewhere for a different uh type of um a different type of uh i guess type of tracker and uh for me the the samsung uh galaxy was kind of the solution because it was able to track like blood pressure from your wrist and that's pretty big deal so um eventually that that um that's the word i'm looking for that feature never came to it and so i was stuck with this app that i didn't really uh or this this watch that wasn't really in my ecosystem and it wasn't kind of uh good for the thing that i wanted it for and it didn't interact with my current ecosystem with fitbit and so like i had all this automation going on behind the scenes to make sure that the tracker stuff came into fitbit and made sure it was it was a mess um but my my first thing is that i switch back to fitbit um i'm really happy i did i think um there's some cool stuff going on with this uh smartwatch that a lot of it is the same as the other one but there's a couple neat like bells and whistles that i really enjoy playing with the second thing i want to talk about is i was out of town and i was at a hotel um and so uh basically what i did was i was like can i get this thing delivered to the hotel and i looked at you know amazon and they were like oh there's a couple lockers nearby and we can have it to you tomorrow and i was like oh this is great so i actually you know ordered it and it delivered to a locker in you know a place thousand miles away from home that i picked up and was able to get and set up like the next day um and that's that was pretty incredible to like just walk in and have this new thing that you know i didn't have before and um so lots of stuff going on but i'm very happy that uh the experience with setting up fitbit you know remembered all my settings from years ago and it just kind of pulled them back in and it's like hey i know you've been gone for a while but here's everything nick i gotta know is this one waterproof i think so i think the other one was water resistant um i just i thought i could go swimming with it i don't know what happened maybe it was just old uh but the the it still works i like it still tracked everything i just couldn't get to the screen the one the one thing i will say that like samsung does right is that um you know i can't i can't quick add calories from this fitbit but i could from my other one and that's that's really important to me so i'm tracking how much i intake versus how much i you know burn off in a day and that's that's important to me um but so now i have to use the phone app and it's a little clunky to like go out of my way but who knows google just announced a whole slew of new updates to their uh where os and they own fitbit so maybe it'll all work itself out um the wise brand www yeah sean just switched to that for his fitness tracking and it was only like the watch was like 20 or 30 bucks which is really cool but um so far pretty comparable to the other stuff yeah you actually you actually turned me onto the wise cam um a couple years ago i'm a big fan yeah yeah um so yes we're familiar with the brand um but yeah i think that's gonna be it for one more thing and i think that's gonna be it for today everyone uh let us know what you guys think of the news story this week are you experiencing uh cave syndrome you know let us know uh you can hang out with us on our slack or discord or get to us on any of our social channels uh you can visit our official website and sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date with all the latest human factors news if you like what you hear you want to support the show there's a couple ways you can do that one you can leave us a five star review on your podcast medium of choice if it allows for reviews if not you can tell your friends about us uh that really helps the show grow uh or three if you're financially able consider supporting us on patreon it helps us do really cool things like this new uh video thing that we have going on here it's really awesome um and as always links to all of our socials and our website can be found in the description of this episode i want to thank Erin richie for being on the show today where can our listeners go and find you if they want to talk about that a beautiful view of that lake behind you um you can find me on linkedin right now yep great as for me i've been your host nick rome you can find me streaming on twitch on tuesdays at 11 00 a.m pacific for office hours and across social media at nick underscore rome thanks again for tuning in to human factors cast until next time it depends

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Erin Richie Profile Photo

Erin Richie

Guest Host

I have a passion for positively impacting the lives of others. That passion has lead me to pursue a career in Human Factors and Human Centered Design. My current experience ranges from problem solving internationally through conducting a Women's Health and Education Human Centered Design Project in Ghana, Africa; to studying, volunteering, and exploring while immersed in South American culture in Lima, Peru; to an industry experience as an intern for 3 different companies on their discovery and product development teams; to creating my own Technical Elective Class at Michigan Tech researching what it is like to live with an injury or disability in a snowy climate; to my current position with Pacific Science and Engineering as a Human Factors Engineer. I enjoy digging for the why, understanding other view points and cultures, and using the insight I find to inspire design.