The Model Supervisor Dilemma

  • W. T. Singleton
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 1)


When a computer is available to assist a human operator in controlling a complex set of hardware the computer normally takes over the more routine tasks involving data sensing, control and manipulation and simple logical choices among a range of alternative strategies while the human operator retains a longer-term planning function, an overall monitoring function, and a consultant function when unusual situations arise. In these circumstances his role is better described as a supervisor rather than an operator. (Sheridan, 19723. Models of man the supervisor are obviously going to be more complex and diffuse than those which were appropriate for the more traditional manual control operator. In psychological terminology it looks as though we will need to move from a stimulus/response model to a gestalt, field or cognitive model. Models of man the controller based on servo-theory and communication theory are stimulus-response type in that a unitary response is related to a unitary error signal, but there is one field theory characteristic in that the development of stimulus and response in time are recognised as significant.


Human Operator Supervisory Control Skill Analysis Supervisor Behaviour Human Controller 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. T. Singleton
    • 1
  1. 1.Applied Psychology DepartmentUniversity of AstonBirminghamUK

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