Description: CSULB logo

 Kim-Phuong L. Vu
Department of Psychology
California State University, Long Beach
1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90840
Office: PSY 333; Phone: (562) 985 5021; Fax: (562) 985 8004

Education:                                                                                                                      E-mail:

Ph.D., 2003, Purdue University, Cognitive Psychology                                                        My Quick Links:  BeachBoard
M.S., 2000, Purdue University, Cognitive Psychology                                                                                   Webmail
B.A., 1999, California State University Long Beach, Psychology                                                                     PSI CHI 
                                                                                                                                                               HFES Student Chapter   

Specialty Area(s):                                             Courses:

  • Human Cognition                                       Research Methods
  • Human Performance                                  Cognition
  • Human Factors                                          Human Factors
  • Human-Computer Interaction                     Perception and Attention

To view my vita, which contains information about my professional preparation, honors and awards, publications, and synergistic activities, click on the Curriculum Vitae link below.  You will need a PDF viewer to open the file. To download a version of Adobe PDF, click here.
Curriculum Vitae

Research Interests:

I have developed programs of research in three interrelated areas.  The first area of my research focuses on the topic of 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.  For example, if participants are asked to press a left or right key in response to a light appearing to the left or right, performance is better with the compatible mapping of left stimulus to left response and right stimulus to right response than the alternative incompatible mapping.  Studies of SRC effects have been a valuable tool to study automatic and intentional processes associated with the response-selection that intervene between perception and action.  My research in this area also has implications for how displays and controls should be organized and mapped in order to achieve efficient performance, with minimal errors.  Although the major focus of my research on stimulus-response compatibility is on basic theoretical issues, I am relating the theoretical advances in SRC to applied issues in the field of human factors and ergonomics. 

The second area of my research focuses directly on human factors and human-computer interaction.  Human factors is an interdisciplinary field of research, that includes applied cognitive psychology.  It 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.  This is particularly true for transactions initiated through the Internet because they often involve extensive human interactions with the system.  Thus, my research on basic human cognition and performance has much to offer to the design of user interfaces and applications for the Internet.  However, many products and Web interfaces are not designed in a manner compatible with the cognitive processes of the users, and human factor concerns are often not taken into account until late design phases, where products cannot be changed drastically.  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.  I have collaborated with other researchers from industrial engineering and computer science, as well as with professionals in industry on these research projects.  I am co-editor of the second edition of The Handbook of Human Factors in Web Design (2011).

          The third area of my research, which was entirely developed after my appointment at CSULB, is on the topic of aviation psychology.  The goal of this research program is to develop metrics for measuring human performance in complex systems such as the Next Generation Airspace Transportation System (NextGen). I have used human-in-the-loop simulations to investigate human factors issues associated with pilot performance using various cockpit interfaces, pilot and controller performance with different air traffic management concepts, and the human-automation interaction associated with new tools and technologies.  I have also conducted studies examining the performance of novice versus experienced operators when using advanced tools.  My work in this area requires collaborations with NASA, other universities and private industries. 

Human Factors Research and Training:

Currently, I am the Associate Director of two centers of excellence in human factors' research and development, Center for Human Factors in Advanced Aeronautics Technologies (CHAAT), and Center for Usability in Design and Accessibility (CUDA)  These centers provide practicum and research experiences for students in our graduate programs in Psychology, especially the Master Science Human Factors' Psychology Program.

CHAAT is a Group 5 NASA University Research Center that was established at CSULB in 2009.  CHAAT performs on-going research to measure human performance in complex systems such as the Next Generation Airspace Transportation System (NextGen). We also participate in the training of the future workforce, in aeronautics and other NASA-related disciplines, through the training of students in human factors. 

CUDA serves as a usability testing laboratory and user-centered design resource for private and non-private organizations in the community.  Established 1996, CUDA evaluates software products for a variety of organizations: educational institutions (e.g., CSU Office of the Chancellor), colleges and universities in the CSU System, government agencies (e.g., Veterans Administration) and private industry (e.g., Addison-Wesley Longman, Inc., Southern California Edison, Honda, and First American Real Estate). 


Links to My Affiliated Universities:
CSU Long Beach: Psychology Department

CSU Northridge: Psychology Department

Purdue University: Department of Psychological Sciences