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Vu Selected for Earl Alluisi Early Career Achievement Award

Published: April 15, 2010

Kim-Phuong Vu, an associate professor of psychology at CSULB, has been named the 2009 recipient of the Earl Alluisi Early Career Achievement Award by Division 21: Applied Experimental and Engineering Psychology of the American Psychological Association (APA).

The award is given annually to an academic who has made exceptional contributions to the field of applied experimental and engineering psychology during the first 10 years of his/her career and is based on his/her: research and publication; special new contributions (e.g., equipment or techniques) and/or contributions to theory.

“Earl Alluisi was a pioneer in the field of engineering psychology, so I was honored to receive an award in his name,” said Vu, a faculty member at CSULB since 2005. “Also, former recipients have become prominent members in the field, so I am happy to be associated with them through this award.”

As the Alluisi Award winner, Vu will deliver an oral presentation at the next annual meeting of the APA as part of her division’s program. Scheduled for August in San Diego, the annual meeting also is where she will be presented with the award. Vu said her address will highlight her research contributions.

“My major contribution to the field has been in the application of basic research in perception and cognition to real-world problems,” Vu explained. “I have developed programs of research in three interrelated areas.”

The first area of research focuses on action-selection. Action-selection refers to how a speeded decision is made regarding which action to take in response to perceptual events.

“One of the major factors affecting efficiency of action selection is stimulus-response compatibility (SRC). SRC refers to the fact that performance is better with certain mappings of stimuli to responses than others,” she continued. “SRC effects have been a valuable tool to study automatic and intentional processes associated with the response-selection stage that intervenes between perception and action. My research in this area has implications for how displays and controls should be organized and mapped in order to achieve efficient performance, with minimal errors.”

Vu’s second area of my research involves human-computer interaction (HCI). Human factors is concerned with improving interface designs or products for human use. The fundamental idea underlying human factors is that systems and interfaces must be designed with the users in mind if the systems are to accomplish their goals effectively.

“My work in this area includes human factors issues in Web design, the role of password restrictions in the memorability and security of passwords for single and multiple accounts, and evaluating the usability of Web privacy policies,” she noted.

The third area of Vu’s research focuses on aviation human factors. “This research area was developed entirely after my appointment at CSULB,” she pointed out. “I have developed a research program using human-in-the-loop simulations to investigate human factors issues associated with advanced interface designs, control of manned and unmanned air vehicles, and different air traffic management concepts and automation technologies.”

Vu’s vita lists 42 articles in refereed journals, two books, 20 book chapters, 22 proceedings papers, and three book reviews. She is the first or sole author on 14 of the journal articles and many of the proceedings papers. The articles have been published in major research journals, including the Journal of Experimental Psychology, the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology and the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies.

Vu is also an alumna of CSULB, where she earned her bachelor’s degree, and she went on to obtain her M.S. and Ph.D. from Purdue University.

Based in Washington, D.C., the APA is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States and is the world’s largest association of psychologists. Its membership includes more than 150,000 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its various divisions and affiliations, APA works to advance psychology as a science, as a profession and as a means of promoting health, education and human welfare.

–Rick Gloady