Erin Harrell - Fellows Society

Erin Harrell

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HOMETOWN: Freeman, WV

PhD in Cognitive Psychology

McKnight Fellowship

Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

M.S., Cognitive Psychology

Thesis: The ability of fourth grade students to draw inferences when reading passages containing incongruent text.

Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

B.S., magna cum laude,

My research adopts a human factors approach by applying the principles of cognitive and experimental psychology to improve individuals’ interactions with technological systems to enhance system usability and users’ wellbeing, health, and safety.  Specifically, my current research is focused on designing technology for older adults.  While older adults are increasing their use of technology, they are more likely to have difficulty using technologies such as mobile devices, the Internet, and electronic bill pay systems, partly due to age-related ability changes.  Unless these technologies are well-designed, and well-designed for everyone, many people may be "locked out" of the benefits that these technologies were intended to provide. If technological solutions are to be effective, older adults must be willing and able to engage with these interventions.  While Human Factors can improve usability of these technologies, other personal and attitudinal factors may influence adherence to technology-based interventions and long-term technology adoption. My current research is exploring adherence to technology-based interventions intended to improve cognition.  While the degree to which cognition can be changed is debated, this research allows for the exploration of more general factors that influence adherence to any intervention involving technology.

Being a part of the Fellows Society has allowed me the opportunity to work with a diverse multidisciplinary group of individuals to discover solutions to problems that will impact society, from a global perspective.  Furthermore, being able to network with scholars from other disciplines to discover new approaches to research has allowed me to have a greater appreciation and understanding of the importance of providing opportunities for mentorship to advance academic excellence while being a servant leader on campus as well as in the community.

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