Adaptive Behavior in Manual Control and the Optimal Control Model

  • Sheldon Baron
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 16)


Adaptive control is epitomized by skilled humans performing manual control tasks. The well-trained, motivated human controller is capable of adapting his control strategies and responses to an extensive degree, in response to variations in task variables, such as controlled element dynamics and input characteristics, or to compensate for the controller’s own inherent limitations. In this paper, we examine some of the human controller’s remarkable adaptability in performing manual control tasks and show that much of this behavior can be explained and unified in terms of an appropriate model, namely, the Optimal Control Model (OCM) of the human operator (Baron and Kleinman, 1968; Kleinman, Baron and Levison, 1970; Baron, 1976).


Manual Control Adaptive Behavior Internal Model Extended Kalman Filter Control Task 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Baron, S., “A Model for Human Control and Monitoring Based on Modern Control Theory”, J. of Cybernetics and Information Sciences, Vol. 4, No. 1, Spring 1976, pp. 3–18.Google Scholar
  2. Baron, S. and J. Berliner, “The Effects of Deviate Internal Representations in the Optimal Model of the Human Operator”, US Army Missile Research and Development Command Tech Rept. TD-CR-77–3, July 1977.Google Scholar
  3. Baron, S. and D.L. Kleinman, “The Human as an Optimal Controller and Information Processor”, NASA CR-1151, Sept. 1968 (Also IEEE Trans. Man-Machine Systems, Vol. MMS-10, No. 1, March 1969, PP. 9–16.)Google Scholar
  4. Baron, S., D.L. Kleinman, D.C. Miller, W.H. Levison, and Elkind, J.I., “Application of Optimal Control Theory to the Prediction of Human Performance in a Complex Task”, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, AFFDL-TR-69–81, March 1970.Google Scholar
  5. Baron, S. and W.H. Levison, “Analysis and Modelling Human Performance in AAA Tracking”, BBN Report No. 2557, Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA, March 1974.Google Scholar
  6. Baron, S. and W.H. Levison, “An Optimal Control Methodology for Analyzing the Effects of Display Parameters on Performance and Workload in Manual Flight Control”, IEEE Trans, on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, Vol. SMC-5, No. 4, July 1975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baron, S. and W.H. Levison, “The Optimal Control Model: Status and Future Directions”, Proc. of Conf. on Cvbernetics and Society, Boston, MA, Oct. 1980.Google Scholar
  8. Caglayan, A. and S. Baron, “On the Internal Target Model in a Tracking Task”, Proc. Of Seventeenth Annual Conf. on Manual Control, Pasadena, CA, 1981.Google Scholar
  9. Kalman, R.E., and R.S. Buoy, “New Results in Linear Filtering and Prediction Theory”, J. Basic Eng. (ASME Trans.), Vol. 83, 1961, pp. 95–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Kleinman, D.L., “Solving the Optimal Attention Allocation Problem in Manual Control”, IEEE Trans. on Auto, Control, Vol. AC-21, No. 6, Dec. 1976.MathSciNetGoogle Scholar
  11. Kleinman, D.L. and S. Baron, “Analytic Evaluation of Display Requirements for Approach to Landing”, NASA CR-1952, Nov. 1971.Google Scholar
  12. Kleinman, D.L., S. Baron, and W.H. Levison, “An Optimal-Control Model of Human Response, Part 1: Theory and Validation”, Automatica, No. 6, 1970, PP. 357–369.Google Scholar
  13. Kleinman, D.L. and R.E. Curry, “Some New Control Theoretic Models for Human Operator Display Monitoring”, IEEE Trans, on Systems, Man and Cybernetics. Vol. SMc.7, No. 11, Nov. 1977, PP. 778–784.MATHCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kleinman, D.L. and T. Perkins, “Modelling the Human in a Time-Varying Anti-Aircraft Tracking Loop”, IEEE Trans. on Auto. Control, AC-19, 1974, pp. 297–306.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Levison, W.H., “A Model-Based Technique for Predicting Pilot Opinion Ratings for Large Commercial Transports”, Rept. No. 4153, Bolt Beranek and Newman Inc., Cambridge, MA, July 1979.Google Scholar
  16. Levison, W.H., J.I. Elkind, and J.L. Ward, “Studies of Multi-Variable Manual Control Systems: A Model for Task Interference”, NASA-Ames Research Center, NASA CR-1746, May 1971.Google Scholar
  17. Levison, W.H. and A. Junker, “A Model for the Pilot’s Use of Motion Cues in Roll-Axis Tracking Tasks”, Proc. of Thirteenth Annual Conf. on Manual Control, MIT, June 1977, PP. 377–388.Google Scholar
  18. McRuer, D.T., D. Graham, E.S. Krendel, and W. Reisner, “Human Pilot Dynamics in Compensator Systems”, AFFDL TR-65–15, July 1965.Google Scholar
  19. Meditch, J.S., “Stochastic Optimal Linear Estimation and Control”, McGraw-Hill Book Co., New York, 1969.MATHGoogle Scholar
  20. Roig, R.W., “A Comparison Between Human Operator and Optimum Linear Controller RMS-Error Performance”, IRE Trans, on Human Factors in Electronics, HFE-3, 1962, pp. 18–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Simon, H.A., Models of Man, John Wiley ’ Sons, New York, 1957.MATHGoogle Scholar
  22. Wewerinke, P.H., “Human Operator Workload for Various Control Situations”, Tenth Annual Conf. on Manual Control, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, 1974.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheldon Baron
    • 1
  1. 1.Bolt Beranek and Newman, Inc.CambridgeUSA

Personalised recommendations