ISSN 0439-755X
CN 11-1911/B

Acta Psychologica Sinica ›› 2024, Vol. 56 ›› Issue (3): 363-382.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1041.2024.00363

• Reports of Empirical Studies • Previous Articles    

New research paradigms and agenda of human factors science in the intelligence era

XU Wei1(), GAO Zaifeng2(), GE Liezhong1   

  1. 1Center for Psychological Sciences
    2Department of Psychology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
  • Received:2023-09-14 Published:2024-03-25 Online:2023-12-26
  • Contact: Xu Wei, email:; Gao Zaifeng, email:


This paper first proposes the innovative concept of “human factors science” to characterize engineering psychology, human factors engineering, ergonomics, human-computer interaction, and other similar fields. Although the perspectives in these fields differ, they share a common goal: optimizing the human-machine relationship by applying a “human-centered design” approach. AI technology has brought in new characteristics, and our recent research reveals that the human-machine relationship presents a trans-era evolution from “human-machine interaction” to “human-AI teaming.” These changes have raised questions and challenges for human factors science, compelling us to re-examine current research paradigms and agendas.
In this context, this paper reviews and discusses the implications of the following three conceptual frameworks that we recently proposed to enrich the research paradigms for human factors science. (1) human-AI joint cognitive systems: This model differs from the traditional human-computer interaction paradigm and regards an intelligent system as a cognitive agent with a certain level of cognitive capabilities. Thus, a human-AI system can be characterized as a joint cognitive system in which two cognitive agents (human and intelligent agents) work as teammates for collaboration. (2) human-AI joint cognitive ecosystems: An intelligent ecosystem with multiple human-AI systems can be represented as a human-AI joint cognitive ecosystem. The overall system performance of the intelligent ecosystem depends on optimal cooperation and design across the multiple human-AI systems. (3) intelligent sociotechnical systems (iSTS): human-AI systems are designed, developed, and deployed in an iSTS environment. From a macro perspective, iSTS focuses on the interdependency between the technical and social subsystems. The successful design, development, and deployment of a human-AI system within an iSTS environment depends on the synergistic optimization between the two subsystems.
This paper further enhances these frameworks from the research paradigm perspective. We propose three new research paradigms for human factors science in the intelligence ear: human-AI joint cognitive systems, human-AI joint cognitive ecosystems, and intelligent sociotechnical systems, enabling comprehensive human factors science solutions for AI-based intelligent systems. Further analyses show that the three new research paradigms will benefit future research in human factors science. Furthermore, this paper looks forward to the future research agenda of human factors science from three aspects: “human-AI interaction,” “intelligent human-machine interface,” and “human-AI teaming.” We believe the proposed research paradigms and the future research agenda will mutually promote each other, further advancing human factors science in the intelligence era.

Key words: Human factors science, engineering psychology, human factors engineering, research paradigm, human-AI teaming