Norman, Kent

Kent Norman
Associate Professor
Department of Psychology
Program in Neuroscience & Cognitive Science
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
3123F Biology-Psychology Building
General Research Interests: 
  • Cognitive psychology
  • Human/computer interaction
  • Design of electronic educational environment, and most recently
  • Psychology of video games

Humans are human and machines are machines. An interface exists between humans and machines. The human/computer interface is one sided in the sense that the human side has all the brains and the machine side has all bits and bytes. Empirical research and guiding theory are required to direct the design of the interface rather than reliance on millions of years of evolution. In the design of the interface, human needs and desires take precedence over machine requirements and limitations. While some humans are smarter than other humans, and some machines are faster than other machines, no machine acting independently of humans is smarter than a human acting independently of a machine. Machines were created by humans to serve humans. Although some humans hold that humans were created by God to serve the Creator, no machines hold that machines were created by humans to serve humans or vice versa. Therefore, we should investigate the nature of the human mind and its use of machines to solve problems, make decisions, and accomplish goals, investigate design features of the interface that facilitate the cognitive processing of the human mind in the pursuit of its goals, expose design flaws, biases, prejudices, and the ideologies of designers embedded in the interface that have a negative impact on users. encourage students to publish papers and attend conferences with a sense of purpose and excitement.


Kent L. Norman received his doctorate from the University of Iowa in Experimental Psychology. He is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland where he is the director of the Laboratory for Automation Psychology and Decision Processes (LAPDP, and is a founding member of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory (HCIL, since 1984. His research is on human/computer interaction, cognitive issues in interface design, usability research, and the design of electronic educational environments. He is the developer of HyperCourseware™, a prototype for blended classroom and Web-based learning and the co-developer of the QUIS™, the Questionnaire for Interaction Satisfaction. His most recent book is Cyberpsychology: An introduction the human-computer interaction, (2008). He current research is on the psychology of digital games and entertainment.