Human Factors Minute is now available on Spotify: Check it out here!
June 18, 2021

E210 - Can Algorithms Detect Preferences from Brain Waves?

Recorded live on June 17th, 2021, hosted by Nick …


Recorded live on June 17th, 2021, hosted by Nick Roome & Blake Arnsdorff.

| Programming Notes:

 

| News:

 

| It Came From:

  • Does HF salary vary between psych and engineering backgrounds?  | VOLdemort | Discord
  • What made you decide to take up HCI (HF)? | Advanced-Page | /r/hci

 

| Follow Nick: https://www.twitter.com/Nick_Roome 

- Follow Blake: https://www.instagram.com/dontpanicux/ 

- Design Lab UX Courses With Blake:  http://share.trydesignlab.com/hfcast 

- Join us on Discord:https://go.humanfactorscast.media/Discord 

- Join us on Slack: https://go.humanfactorscast.media/Slack

 

| Thank you to our Human Factors Cast Honorary Staff: 

Michelle Tripp 

 

| Support us on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/humanfactorscast 

- Buy us a coffee: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/hfactorspodcast 

- Human Factors Cast Merchandise Store: https://www.humanfactorscast.media/p/Store/ 

- Follow us on Twitch: https://twitch.tv/HumanFactorsCast 

- Follow us on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/HumanFactorsCast 

- Follow us on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/humanfactorscast 

- Follow us on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/HFactorsPodcast 

- Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HumanFactorsCast 

- Our official website: www.humanfactorscast.media 

 

| Our tools and software: https://www.humanfactorscast.media/p/resources/ 

- Our Ethics Policy:https://www.humanfactorscast.media/p/ethics-policy/ 

- Logo design by E Graphics LLC: https://egraphicsllc.com/ 

- Music by Kevin McLeod: https://incompetech.com/music/royalty-free/ 

- Image source: Wikimedia Commons

 

| Take a deeper look into the human element in our ever changing digital world. Human Factors Cast is a podcast that investigates the sciences of psychology, engineering, biomechanics, industrial design, physiology and anthropometry and how it affects our interaction with technology. As an online source for human factors, psychology, and design news, Human Factors Cast is your essential resource for new, exciting stories in the field.

 

| Disclaimer: Human Factors Cast may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through the links here. |

Let us know what you want to hear about next week!

Follow us:

Thank you to our Human Factors Cast Honorary Staff Patreons: 

  • Michelle Tripp

Support us:

Human Factors Cast Socials:

Reference:

Feedback:

  • Have something you would like to share with us? (Feedback or news):

 

Disclaimer: Human Factors Cast may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through the links here.

Transcript

| Disclaimer: Transcript provided by IBM Watson Speech to Text. Any inaccuracies or errors are not attributed to the Hosts or contributors to Human Factors Cast. |

Welcome to human factors yeah your weekly podcast for human factors psychology and design. Hey what's up everybody is 6/17/2021 this is human factors cast episode 210 we're recording this live I'm your host Nick Rome joined by Mister Blake are in store for hello how are you neck there he is I am good Blake. I'm just a quick programming note before we jump in the news tonight. Just a quick follow up to last week's show we do have our most recent deep dive out there on the internet waves for your consumption so please check that out and we do have just a couple more spots left in our digital media lab if you are interested in helping out the show or want to get involved we do have a couple spaces left so please feel free to reach out to us all right well we know why everyone's here I think that was the quickest interactive were done so let's go ahead and get into it. It's being human factors news this is the part of the show all about human factors news this is where we talk about everything related to the field of human factors from privacy and medical applications to security and a high this story has a little bit of everything in it as long as it relates to the field of human factors it's fair game so Blake what we have up this week up this week we're talking about how computers can predict our preferences directly from our brains so a research team from the university of Copenhagen and university of Helsinki have demonstrated it's possible to predict individual preferences based on how a person's brain responses matches up with others so this could potentially be used to provide individually tailored media content and perhaps even to enlighten us a little bit about ourselves our own preferences so we have become accustomed to online algorithms trying to guess our preferences for everything from movies to music to news and shopping this is based not only on what we've searched for looked at or listen to but it's also on how these activities compared to each other collaborative building is a technique that this bill is used to kind of identify these hidden patterns in our behavior and the behavior that our response is kind of it'll illicit but what if our lives could use responses from our brain rather than just our behavior it may sound like science fiction but a project called combining computer science and cognitive neuroscience they show that the brain based collaborative filtering is indeed possible so by using an algorithm to match an individual's pattern of brain responses with with those of others researchers from both of these universities were actually able to predict a person's attraction to and not yet seen face sit next day I mean there's no better way to describe this than the article does the does sound super science fiction E. but it's really interesting that it's. Tying it to you know existing technology that we're all kind of familiar with even if it's passively familiar with it but now using that concept to understand how your brain works it's insane yeah long story short here you put device on brain algorithm interprets brain signals and determines what your preferences right that's Bob's your uncle you're good to go long story short all right so we're gonna go ahead and move into this not not getting sucked so let's actually sit here let's break it down because there's seemingly not much going on with this but at the same time a lot going on with this so. I think the new part of this is pairing these brain signals that we've been able to measure for quite some time pairing it with an algorithm that then actually can predict which. Reference you have in the study they used images of people so. Let's let's use that cabbie out here we're not we're not suggesting that this is predicting preferences for things like food although I feel like it probably transfer pretty wild food I okay so it's not also. Trying to look at preferences for things that may be closer and approximations than others right so like you know I feel like with people in a lot of cases you have a clear preference for one person or another. Phil with food that is also true but you know let's say you have a choice between 2 awful alternatives would you rather burn to death or get you know ran over by a ambulance you know it's like well I don't know which one I have a preference for. This is kind of the first steps to maybe being able to determine that some day that's that's an interesting comparison right because that's that's exactly what the articles talking about is that it's kind of getting away from just behavior based decision making or in your information gathering and now it's it's using a little bit more than that so it's not like based on what you're currently doing it's I guess based on just electrical inputs and how that translates into what preference or choice you might make so it's it's getting I think a little bit more productive if you well instead of just like suggestions based off of old behaviors yeah predict predictive is loaded term and it's a strong claim. And so let's let's make sure that we're talking about this appropriately and and the article suggests that they're predicting now what your preference would be based on your brain waves and you know up to this point where we're detecting these preferences and I realize that title typo in our little caption I'm gonna fix that really quick we're we're detecting these preferences and. Now this article suggesting that we are now predicting these so it's it's kind of a leap to go from detection to production but I think it's an important one because this is kind of that first stepping stone to. That you know what would you rather get burned alive or get hit by an ambulance right both are not. Not good all that not good outcomes for you but you must choose one right I think I think I think we're getting closer to that so you wanna walk through how this is being done Blake yes let's let's talk a little bit about like what's been done prior and they will talk about like how this is different that's all right so previously I mean lots of research has been done with EEG is kind of trying to understand what's going on in your brain when you're either experiencing certain phenomena or you're seeing things on a screen or you're interacting with software in this case a lot of what's typically use and I feel like this is definitely a something you see a lot in psychology work because it's like recognizing faces so as as children we start like recognize what emotions are and things like that through stimuli and I requirement so having something like this is kind of a nice baseline and we've been able to in the past of course kind of understand what happens in the brain firing wise and what parts of the brain are activated and kind of make a socially Asians are correlations between what that means but in this case we're now kind of putting that on steroids in some cases in terms of the data analysis part so adding an algorithm or put putting machine learning behind this we're actually able to understand a little bit more based on this study what that electrical activity means when you're detecting faces even before you see something so before you're actually able to make a behavior it's almost judging what what that behavior may be. So that sounds pretty convoluted but ultimately it's it's kind of it's in some ways into it right because if you're able to collect brain signals if you are able to analyze them and see patterns over time you might be able to kind of start to see trends or understand potential behaviors before they actually happen so that's the the corn grow predictive part that we're seeing. Yeah and we can we can certainly get into the implications of what predictive technology means or part predictive I don't even know their their outcomes but I do want to again I kinda wanna preface this whole article here's like we're looking at human faces here in this article and humans are built to analyze human faces 4 emotions were built to analyze them for potential mates were built to analyze them to detect deception were built to analyze faces as humans you look at my face or blank space and you are. Taking in more information than just the words that were saying based on body language and visual cues even if you're just look at a picture of us it's different than. Mmhm get out just hearing our voices and so. Keep that in mind I feel like it's a stretch to. The apply this the N. a broad stroke and this is a great first step and and we can like I said we can certainly talk about the implications here but I think it's interesting. That they used faces because it's kind of one of the most primal sort of brain functions that we have is to detect friend or foe to detect deception that type of thing. I'm. So I I I like where this is going to want to talk about sort of the the experiment itself. Yes so the basic experimental kind of process here is it's very similar to what you would expect in any of these kind of studies that deal with the E. G. is right so it really had participants were shown a large amount of images of human faces like we talked about and they were asked to get out respond in did they find of the face attractive and so really what we're doing here is we're measuring brain signals as they make that behavioral choice but then the fun part comes so by using some I wonder if it's us if it's a supervised learning machine model or not but anyway that doesn't matter so what they did then as they took that data ran it through their machine learning model to really understand like okay what's going on brain activity wise and then how can we use that information to see if we can predict what somebody's gonna say in terms of are they gonna judge your face attracted over not attractive I mean it looks like based off of this study anyway they were able to protect. With some some pretty good relevancy what people are actually gonna say here so by using taking all that brain wave data analyzing it they could understand on a person by person basis what those preferences are going to be for faces and Nick at I know you you did a good job of breaking down the fact that this is something that we're we're geared up from the inside to do to analyze a face to understand kind of the contextual factors that you know what a face means so this to me this almost makes sense that we that yes you would be able to probably project a response of Bilic recording electronic signals but also at the same time you may even be able to yourself predict how you would respond to this kind of stuff but I think the the wider applications of they're trying to say are coming from this are really where they're kind of getting the most bang for the Buck out of the story I agree and we can kind of talk about the application right I I do want to mention that. The one thing I I don't know if we've made perfectly clear is that this is using existing data. I'm from a dataset to predict your response and so. Based on your brain waves so that that's huge in the sense that you don't have to have data on yourself obviously as you get more data to this to this algorithm it will better predict your preference but to begin you don't even need data on yourself to fort for the system to kind of come up with something where their predicting right is that kind of incredible though because I mean it does mention that there is a little black girl partially the algorithm was used was taking in that participants data but the fact that it's like an amalgamation of a lot of different data points from various people and still being able to see a like a protective quality in this case for face attractiveness approval or or not in some cases that just kind of blows my mind yeah it's not that they don't have to compare this against your own previous behavior or previous responses and so that I think is the biggest thing here is that in that they're taking brain signals and they are predicting what you will do based on a larger data set of brain responses and so. That in itself is is really important but let's talk about some of these applications here because I think. I think once you get beyond the the you know I. primal function to detect faces. There can be some pretty significant. Implications here and I think we can even start at. I'm. Face detection right I think like like let's think about dating apps or something like that right so. I can imagine a world where you know they're they're using these attractive faces the task that this technique in it you can apply this to dating apps in the future and it's like well you you know you you can almost. I I haven't I don't know what the data looks like so I'm I'm speculating here but is there a way to determined strength of preference you know like I have a strong preference for this person and then maybe those results come through on the other end and say Hey someone's got a strong preference for you. And how do you message that to make it not creepy and you know there's all there's all these issues with it but by can you imagine this type of thing being applied to a dating app where maybe it gives you 2 images. And it detects what preference or or even to get you started it shows you a series of images of people on the website and builds up your profile again this study doesn't need that history but the more data it has obviously the better it's going to be it gives you kind of this set up and then it will only recommend people that fall within your preference and that's a very shallow way of looking at it but at the same time. It's going to make these dating websites and applications money it alternately because it's like yeah Hey we you know we talk about the the fact that this technology is not many tries and it's not readily accessible right now they enter 8 within the next 10 years is what the study says but think about that application in the future right like is that a paid tier where you could pay they send you a device you put it on and you get access to those preferred profiles based on your response. Well that's like the cool thing about this whole this whole type of study after like 2 things are going to try and keep working memory here but the the biggest what if the item down the big the biggest one being like what you just said right so what what implications they have for the future well not only does it have like impacts on applications as we know it but could you imagine that there something built into a wearable like call like glasses that would it would be able to collect this information on you continuously and enhance how you however in 10 years we're viewing the next mobile device whether it's like glasses on your face or some kind of combination of a phone and wearables whatever I mean that just it means that there's gonna be a lot more expansion of technology to really understand not just your preferences but you know I'm not even sure this rightward like bio metric data at an electrical signal level so there's there's a lot of opportunity for in just 8 tech development wearable perspective to on top of science like this the one thing that's that you really smart when you're talking about like like a dating app. And this is something I don't know a whole lot about I've had I've had the fortune fortune experience a lot of students through design lab who have talked to me a lot more about tick tock and its algorithm and how good it is in terms of the recommendations of content that it provides you a curated format so it it would be interesting to know like with the more powerful algorithm are more powerful you know machine learning model it's already been developed how that enhances you know the capabilities that you can project and provide people with things that they want or things they may even need. With this electrical signal data being pumped in so just right and I think this article does a pretty good job of calling out like this is really getting that personalized level of different types of things you'll experience from media perspective potentially. Very honed in for sure even if you're not aware that you're interested in some things yeah I think you really quick he made a great call back to wearable technology so if you haven't already go listen to last week's episode and check out the deep dive on that because it goes into a lot more depth on the wearable situation right now and kind of creating those biometric markers now I I want to jump into so we've kind of taken the direct application right dating websites is kind of like a an obvious extension of this research here because we're looking at faces now I want to talk a little bit broader and then we'll go even broader than that so like let's let's think about. Some people who are concerned with privacy right it's a big conversation. And so. If this was a requirement for certain things in the future and I'm being fairly ambiguous there we can talk about what these things are. You know what would it be necessarily need help with these things need to be so beneficial that it outweighs the risk of privacy do you trade off privacy for convenience or. Mmhm. Or lower prices or anything like that you know what kind of like the rewards card system where Hugh you give them your information you give them your email so they can send you deals and bring you back in. At the cost of I guess at the benefit to you at lower prices and so you know is that is that what is that trade off look like somewhere in the future right what do you think like yeah I mean so you're almost paying with your electrical brain signals to help somebody else get you know better better information about you preferential data it's like that it's the whole problem probably that we experience with the privacy and use agreement terms so really understanding what you're signing up and allowing to have happened I think it creates a scary line in some ways because you if we end up in this in this situation we did with like our mobile devices right well we have them all the time and we start using all the applications without really understanding the implication of what we're doing or what we what we signed up for when we download an app and accept agreements saying that can happen with any kind of wearable tack where you if you're not really clued into what you're signing up to do when you're not reading through guidance you could have a lot of your privacy in some ways hacked or hijacked. So it does come with a pretty big cost so I don't from my perspective I'm not sure how if people are made aware enough of it how willing they would be the kind of sacrifice that amount of privacy because the the big thing about this entire story is the potential to under earth things about yourself that you maybe don't think are true we'll get there for we'll get there yeah that's the that's the big problem yeah those are a couple other points I want to make I do just want to quickly. Talk about privacy one more thing here is that. You know it there's there's the whole. Question of whether companies and. Mmhm I guess if if if entities let's just call them entities if entities will take advantage of this data and. You know one thing I do want to call out in this article they say here that they don't see this method as a useful way for advertisers and streaming services to sell products or retain users Keith Davis lead author here this is a quote from him I consider our study as a step towards an era that some refer to as mindful computing in which by using a combination of computers and neuroscience techniques users will be able to access unique information about themselves. And so. Basically they're thinking of this as a tool to understand somebody that their own your own self better and not necessarily as a tool for these other things before we get into some of these other questions I do when I I I do want to point out. Kristin from our lab here is actually saying that the area in the cortex of the brain it's called the food the form face area might not be saying that correctly but fun little fact about neuroscience so thank you for that company Kristen really appreciate that. And so I want to get into a couple of these other questions here's I guess not questions but promised really. I'm about the future of this so we kind of took it from the most direct application with dating apps and then we took it a step further with privacy and then you alluded to Blake sort of this this larger impact of what happens if this these predictions don't match up with who you want to be or who you feel like you are and so there's there's a couple questions here about how do we. Communicate preference how do we be mindful with that delivery of information when. I'm presenting it to somebody to minimize those negatives right and then another question would be. How might we change our own preferences. If we have a computer telling us what our preferences are and how would it kind of impact our behavior so let's start with the question of how can we be mindful about the delivery of this information to somebody if it may not match up with who you want to be right you might have a preference that ultimately says. You are. In direct contradiction to the things that you want to be I don't I don't know I don't want to give any specific examples to trigger anybody here but you can imagine in your own brain what that might be how do we handle this messaging problems take I'm asking you to come up with a solution right now off the top of your head do it this is kind of ironic because it's so last night I was at a I was at a talk with the lead designer from head space meant for anybody doesn't know had spaces a meditation app or at least that's how it started it's kind of interesting the evolution of it now but they had to kind of figure out how to deal with similar concepts so they'd do a lot of content that's related to. Like mental health so stuff like depression and anxiety hard topics to deal with and how do you communicate that in a way that makes people feel comfortable but at the same time also makes them you know feel like they can take action to change things and through the through the talk last night a lot of what how this was done was by like choice and voice actors of course but the biggest thing was the overall design of the applications that they were creating so using a lot of. A. N. for the easiest way to put it is friendly animations that made hard topics like depression or suicide or any of that stuff feel more like they could be approached and kind of like showing the benefit of a specific you know. Whatever whatever you wanna call it like mediation technique for dealing with stress or dealing with anxiety so I think it comes down to how this information is being used and presented and in what form somebody's actually getting at so if it's if it's in the case like I don't know it's it's kind of hard because we've only dealt with faces but let's say they were as you were you were using a dating app and you saw that you thought you were you know at attractive person or something like that how do we communicate that information back to you in a way that you're not well how do you communicate that maybe you don't fit the you're not like the people that you're attracted to are not necessarily always attracted to you so how do you communicate that in a way that helps kind of somebody either understand themselves a little bit better so maybe there's personal sides of it or whatever it may be but there's a lot of potential in this data that they're gathering right because if you because there's a lot of capability to have actionable insights about yourself the U. maybe cannot uncover consciously without doing a lot of self work so it it definitely comes down to what application this is coming through and then how that message is conveyed to you because it it the end of the day you have to be the one to accept what is this is this your reality right and it's kind of hard to understand like what does it take my brain signals and basically telling me that I have different opinions different box that I actually do and they will actually what do I do with that information so providing people also with actionable steps to correct behavior if they want to or deal with it if they need to it's a it's a weird line to try and walk for sure yeah messaging is insanely important and I think that is going to be a real challenge. I I talk about messaging all the time on the show but like it it really is going to be a challenge with how do you present this information in a way that. I wasn't bored or slowly sort of. The molds somebody into accepting their preference is is not in line with who they think they are who they thought they were. And so. You know there's there's there's a couple things going on there there could be the instance where this is not who I want to be and then there's this is not who I think I am and that one I think is a little bit more scary where you have this disassociation between your preferences or what you thought was your preference and the what your brain is actually saying and that might lead to a lot of people. Being confused that cognitive dissonance like that you know that's. So yeah I think I'm. Messaging is important but then also sort of the understanding the. How it came to that. The sort of conclusion as well right so not only the result but how it got there as well so you can understand. That sort of the algorithms that are taking place like it's it's it's really confusing because you can look at something and go. That makes no sense to me how did you get that from my brain waves. But if you're able to say. Well this P. wave detector is actually going to result in 95 percent of the time this that the other thing this may not actually be your preference but this is what we predict your preference is going to be and so. The communication piece is not just the outcome but also the process of getting to that outcome so that people have trust in this algorithm and we talk about trust and automation before in this trust in this algorithm is gonna be hugely important because who controls this algorithm is that racial bias built into it those types of things are going to have a large impact on whether people trust the outcome of these things and so yeah there's a lot going on there they had the other question I want to talk about here. Is if we have a computer telling us what we predict or basically who we are then how does this impact our behaviors going forward do you have any speculation on that piece. Yeah I don't know because it if you understand that there's technology out there that's going to be able to predict your behavior. What would you do if you knew that was the case so would you act in a different way consistently to give yet project your own type of bias if you want to be so it would have influence on people's behavior I think that's probably the biggest one now it in terms of like having something like this they can do that I mean I feel like that just makes stuff like ad sense you know yeah on on top of steroids and so it it in some cases it's not going to it's going to be it does seem less like a lot of technology can be to the end user but one thing that I don't know if you could even really. Change what you would be able to do with this type of information I'm completely unsure of because if I if I knew that there was something out there that could predict the way that I think and I happen to do something specifically that I had learned from an algorithm like this. Would it make me actively change my own behaviors probably if it was something I wanted to fix but I'm not really sure how it would impact my like day to day if you will yeah I think I'm. I think you kind of alluded to it at the beginning it was like a. What I was understanding was is this a fake it till you make it situation where. If you know that the algorithm is going to provide some outcome do you behave in a different way than to change the predicted outcomes because that's who you want to be. I don't know that's a good question and I don't really know how to answer it and I think it'll be a while before we actually have that data of how these types of predictions will affect our. Social interactions and behaviors going forward but I think this all comes back to sort of that mindful computing that lead author pointed out here. It's kind of a a way to understand us better ourselves better and using it as a tool. And maybe that is the. Intervention maybe that is the the way in which we change our behavior is to see you actually. You know prefer this thing when in fact I don't want to pay for that thing I want to prefer this other thing and so maybe that is the intervention to where you start changing your behavior to start preferring other things and I'm being fairly ambiguous here because this could be applied to a lot of situations one thing from the chat here that if you want to bring up. Question is do you have speculation on how brain wave detections could be racially biased and yes I mean we've we've talked about on the show before sort of algorithmic bias and how sort of algorithms can have racial bias especially in things where you have like facial recognition technology and that's why a lot of. That's why a lot of cities and laws are being passed to ban facial recognition until we have a better understanding of them until later and I can imagine. A similar situation here where let's say all of your test subjects are white and so maybe you are only comparing preference of test subjects against a white dataset and so not necessarily have. You know you have a black participant or something and they react to images differently and we just don't have enough data in the data set to distinguish between. You know all that. All that comes with differences in race ethnicity and culture right so that's I think the biggest danger with some of the racial bias being inherent or included in some of these algorithms like any thoughts on that. Yeah I think it I mean unfortunately it's just a problem the machine learning has to deal with before we can really move move up assume that any other technology that's built on top of it is going to have any different outcome because every day it's it's specially here because we're talking about not only are we looking at your brain signals or waves and how you're reacting to situations it's meant to be an aggregate of a bunch of different others but those those other pieces if they're not well rounded if it's not from a diverse set of people then you're gonna get a whole bunch of kind of specific trends if it's like from a similar similar population of people them all reacting to the same stimulus it's not going to be you know well rounded piece of technology. Until it gets you know another data that it's actually taking into account a lot of different types of people's preferences and actually able to do trend analysis in a way that you know is more personalized for you which is what I'm imagining this it eventually becomes is of the dataset is gets large enough what it really starts to do is this this whatever they called it it was like collaborative for some type of filtering they talk about yeah it's called collaborative filtering that this is what I think ultimately ends up happening is gonna take a large data set that has access to let's say that this is this was globally deployed at some point and then it's really going to do a lot of the comparison pieces and prediction based off of I think just your brain waves in your some of your behaviors so until like that data set behind it is big enough there's definitely going to be a lot of just bias in it just based on purely the information that has access to and it's just that's a giant problem in computer science that people have not figured out how to get around yet so I'd definitely I totally agree I think there will be a lot of potentially racial bias but a lot of bias in general in the data god just until we kind of figure out how to make more nuanced decisions for machine learning models and different approaches to machine learning I agree good question all right well I think any other closing thoughts on this one Blake before we move on. I just thought it was really interesting that the article really opens up with like this application of this thing that we know very well even if it's passively known like this collaborative filtering concept of taking your behaviors and giving you other things that are related to that behavior and now we're gonna try and put brain waves on top of it but there's this kind of kink in there the you might not actually know some of your own preferences so you may end up liking things are saying things are reacting to things in a way that you don't expect and I feel like that'll bring up on interesting like dichotomy of self for a lot of people so that the how this cashes out in technology I have no idea but it's really. This is a really awesome story I'm glad we were able to break it down if you're hanging out with us we are gonna take a quick break and then we'll be right back human factors cast brings you the best in human factors news interviews conference coverage and overall fun conversations into each and every episode we produce but we can't do it without you. The human factors cast network is 100 percent listener supported all the funds are going to running the show come from our listeners our patrons are our priority and we want to ensure we're giving back to you for supporting us pledges start at just $1 per month and include rewards like access to our weekly Q. and a is with the hosts personalized professional reviews and human factors minute patriotic only weekly podcast where the host breakdown unique obscure and interesting human factors topics in just one minute patron rewards are always evolving so stop by Petri on.com slash human factors cast to see what support level may be right for you thank you and remember it depends. A huge thank you as always to our patrons this week for selecting our topic and thank you to our friends over at the university of Copenhagen for our news story this week you want to follow along we do post those links to the original articles in our weekly news round ups as we find them so join us over there on our website we post in our slack and discord as well. Yeah a huge thank you to our patrons especially our honorary human factors cast staff Michelle Tripp patrons like you keep the show running keep the lights on so thank you all so much for your continued support if you'd like to become a patron and get access to things like human factors meant or even become a show sponsor please do check that out it really does help the show like I said it literally keeps the lights on you know we use it to pay for things like the website and the hosting for the podcast so it all goes back into the show we take no money for ourselves in fact I'm so when the whole my wife is gonna kill me anyway with that. Why don't we go ahead and get into this next part of the show came. Let's get into this. It came from this is the part of the show where we search all over the internet to bring you topics that the human factors community is talking about anything is fair game. All right so we got we got a couple this week we got one from discord we got a couple from reddit so let's go and jump into the discord first this one comes again from he who shall not be named Baltimore's pretty active over there. Is he writes salaries for human factors jobs seem to be all over the place some colleges have their human factors in the psych department and some in engineering department wouldn't engineering focus major lead to a higher average salary or does it just depends on where you work Blake what are your thoughts on this. Yes so I can only really speculate because I have a psych background but I do have a couple of friends who got there yeah I know H. F. degree through an industrial engineering department and I can go I can kind of take a gas it where they started verses where I did I definitely think it depends on where you're going so if you're trying to get like a U. axe research job you will probably run into a gamut of salary ranges now if you have an engineering background and you pitch that you could potentially have a little bit more ground right express if you had any experience working with other engineers and applying human factors in that capacity so bringing human factors the table I do know that but in terms of attractiveness right like some people were able to get you know jobs a bigger companies with an engineering background in my experience foreign people that I know a media at Lee with little experience versus like other friends of mine who took the flight route like I did they've kind of had they've kind of had to get experience show what they could do you and learn a lot of skills on the job and they were able to kind of move to wherever they wanted to you. Again I think it really just depends on where you're applying like where that's going to be because I I really don't know if I've seen too many times with with a human factors job person HCI job post or a U. acts are job post lake okay I'm looking specifically for a PhD with an engineering background in human factors I've just seen I want this type of degree that's going to give you a level up but other than that in terms of if you had an engineering science or engineering starter psych start there's not a whole lot of difference in terms there but Nick what's your experience in this this round or what do you think also psych background here I think my guess here is and and I even said this in the chat it depends that MP 3 I think the the main difference between the 2 is going to be starter salary. I think the. Type of job that you are open to or that you are able to get into straight out of school is going to be. It's going to be different based on which experience you have with that with an engineering degree I feel like you probably have access to higher tier or higher salary jobs right out of the market where site background may not have that and because of that I feel like over time you're more likely to as you jump from career to career or get go advancements in your position get higher up at a company your starter salary is kind of the anchor for that and so. I would probably trend overall engineering probably higher just based on that one fact alone is that you anchor higher it right out of school I wouldn't say aid yeah that should discourage anybody from going the psych route. I think it does depend on the type of industry that you're in and. So he. Again I don't wanna discourage anyone from going to psych route Blake and I both went to psych route when we're doing fine except my wife is going to kill me because I spend so much on a podcast but you know that's a side but that aside from that we're doing fine. I think there's there's one other community comment here that I would I do want to bring in this is from bear rela also in our discord. They say in my experience in engineering plus human factors leads to higher salary at least in the defense industry outside you may be able to gain some more traction with a side of you wax so again it just kind of depends on which industry you're going into and kind of what on the job training you get. If you are from a psych background and sort of what you make of your engineering degree if you come from that background too so it just depends and that's not a great answer but it's you know it it's a good question that I know a lot of people have so we want to make sure we talked about on the show any other closing thought that that when they're Blake. No I mean I think for those that may be on the fence about which one makes the most sense I definitely agree I think engineering may give you the starter salary that you're looking for if that's like a real real thing to be paying attention to when you start but I think in terms of which one makes more sense to do I would just look at the programming content for whatever degree and see which ones align with your interests more yeah I'm do you may find that the engineering staff just really excites you or you may find that there's like psych sides and like the the data analysis part there that focuses heavily on quantitative maybe really interesting as well so I think I would weigh all that stuff kind of in the balance. Yeah I think. One more comment on this I think they give you different skill sets engineering gives you a skill set of how to approach a problem from a practical perspective it also gives you skill with writing very objective things like requirements and so that can really help out I think psychology gives you a more loose tool kit of being flexible with how to approach a problem and these are broad generalizations here I'm not trying to say all programs are like this but at least I know the kind of approach problems in a different way and they complement each other very well which is why human factors is kind of the perfect confluence of both you know can industries and so take that with what you well anyway let's get on to this next one here thank you Baltimore for that question this next one what made you decide to take up H. C. I. this is from the human factors sorry the AC I sub reddit but we'll go ahead and apply it towards human factors this is from advanced page they gonna write I'm just curious on how you end up taking taking up H. C. I. we're or human factors in this case what inspired you or motivated you to take this path Blake. Here we go this will be fun origin story yeah I'll make clips out of this I'm sure so it just a little background myself and I feel confident that I can say this now because it's been so many years so I am a failed. Aerospace engineer like that was my background that's when I went to school for regionally like that was what I was going to do I was going to go work on planes a Boeing. And in some ways I got really bored with some of the engineering classes I just wasn't interested in stuff that wasn't application based so I fell into psychology funny enough through somebody who actually we have worked with recently. He would be used to be a professor at Auburn where I went and got my undergrad but so I was on the track to go get a PhD in animal learning science. Luckily by adviser at that point she looked at me and said I know what you were doing before this you have a passion for how things work and machines and computers like I really don't think going to be happy doing animal learning psychology with me even though you're you know what I proteges or whatever and she recommended this thing I'd never heard of that happen to be human factors and so I looked into it because I didn't know what it was it wasn't like now where there I have friends that have you know bachelor's degree and a job but when I looked into it the program that I ended up finding and getting inspired by wise. California State University Long Beach just program which had a very deep connection with aerospace specifically NASA so dat blended a bunch of passions together like now I was bringing psychology engineering and aviation all into one place where I could learn how to make stuff better for people like it whether its pilots people learning to fly whatever in my case it was ATC's and doing other flight deck design stuff but it was just awesome blend of all the things that I had by happenstance of fall in love with as I went through school and so human factors was just a great way for me to kind of find a career I guess is the best way to put it but definitely came upon it by accident completely yeah that's that's kind of how I got here how bout you Nick that's Blake's origin story mine is actually surprisingly similar to yours and it's funny that the best mentors are the ones that steer you in the direction even though it's kind of against your will so or or not necessarily going to well anyway but my point is my origin story is kind of like this is it's almost like a failed social psych student where I was in social psych and I couldn't really find I still love social psych I I just I couldn't really find a niece that I enjoyed in it and so except for messaging I really enjoy messaging which is why it's important. I work in social it makes it yeah I worked in the social psych lab. And you know is getting to be that time where I was looking at grad schools and I was like Jeez I just I don't feel like I have that passion for a lot of these I'm just looking for that ed higher education because it's the next step and. You know I even applied to the program that I was at in my undergrad with my mentor and he basically said no I'm not accepting you and I I was obviously very hurt by this and you know he's he said I want to have a meeting with you to explain why and so you know he explained why which was. Look our our interests are not compatible and I want you to fly I don't want to hold you back by you doing things that are just for me in my lab I want you to do things that you enjoy. You know and there was a professor here this is his word there is a professor here a year ago that was very much in line with your interests and he moved to another school and so I looked at that professor sure enough he was a psych professor but he was in a human factors program up there and so I got the human factors curriculum working with that professor he ended up being one of the best mentors I've ever had in my life and you know would recommend him to anybody and and. Kind of it was the professor that led me to the human factors program. Or or I guess it was it was the professor that led me to the interest that led me to the human factors program all on accident it just so happened that the professor that I wanted was in human factors program and so I fell in love with the course work while I was in it and everything just felt right and so that's that's my origin story right there it's just it's it just kinda happened right it seems like this is a common case is that a lot of people just fall into human factors. Yeah I don't I wonder how come how common he'll become because like now that there are a lot of programs out there that have you know a bachelor's degrees and it is related to either engineering or psychology so I hope a lot more people find it but it it is funny that we both kind of just stumbled into it yeah all right well let's get into this next part of the show that needs no introduction it's one more thing so we talk about one more thing Blake when he got up this week. All right this week so anybody who's listening I need help I have started developing chrome extensions and I deployed one for a chorus and it's cool I really like it I have an idea for one that I'm gonna make that's very like selfishly oriented but I'm trying to source out ideas for my first real piece of open source software that I want to be a chrome extension because it's it's easy to build there's like there's built in data storage behind it so if you could anybody listening. Think of things that you wish you had access to in chrome or things that would make your life easier and feel free to reach out to me through either social media ad don't panic you acts on Twitter Instagram or Commodore just courting just at like DM me directly. Because I would love to kind of build something that actually people want to use or just kind of going might like selfish needs route and building things that I think would be cool so I want to take the one more minute to throw that out there Blake let's talk in the post show I got an idea for you. By one more thing here is leading a lab like I mentioned at the top we have our human factors cast digital media lab and I just want to take my one more thing to introduce our newest member so we have Rachel Greenberg and Kristen brown who's in the chat tonight and I just want to welcome them to the team and thank you that for all their contribution so far we're working on I keep alluding to this but we're working on some really exciting things behind the scenes I can't wait to share with all of you were not quite ready to pull that off yet but yeah now we have what 3 people in the lab with potentially one more on the way. And it's just been since we started it it's kind of been crazy with how how many ideas have been flying out there and how many. You know like Katie's doing the deep dives and everything so it's just been going really crazy I'm really happy. And if again it one more plug it for the digital media lab if you're interested in getting involved with the show I'm sure we can find something for you to work on that you'll enjoy doing so like Blake said reach out to us on any of those social platforms or even our email and you know we'll we'll we'll give you a chat at the very least yeah well that's gonna be it for today everyone let us know what you guys think of the news story this week I think is really interesting the predictive brain wave stuff yeah if you want to you can hang out with us on a slack or discord discord as pop and by the way or get to us on any of our social social channels visit our official website sign up for our newsletter stay up to date with all the latest human factors news like what you hear your support the show there's a couple things you can do one wherever you're listening to or watching this go ahead and hit that like button leave us a comment that really impacts the algorithm to pricing lake give us a follow do all that stuff with there's a little heart anyway do all that leave us a 5 star review that also helps other people find the show tell your friends about us all this is free by the way you can do all this for free and then if you don't want to if you want to pay us money you can do that too we have a patriotic for you consider supporting us there we got a lot of reports we like to give back to the people that support us financially as always links to all of our socials and website or the description of this episode I don't think Mr Blake aren't Sir for being on the show today what kind of listeners going find you if they want to give you ideas for chrome extensions. Y'all can find me across social media at don't panic you acts or in our discord at Blake as for me I mean her neck road you can find me streaming on twitch Tuesdays at 1:00 PM Pacific for office hours and across media social media at Nick _ Rome thanks again for tuning in human factors cast until next time. It depends.