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Department Faculty

Richard J Jagacinski

My bachelor’s degree is in electrical engineering from Princeton University, and my doctoral degree is in experimental psychology from the University of Michigan. My research explores rhythm in athletic and musical performance (e.g., golf, drumming), vehicular control, the effects of aging on perceptual-motor skills, and creative behavior. My teaching explores perceptual-motor control and learning, the behavioral impact of technology on quality of life, parallels between decision making and control in dynamic contexts, and research methods.

Courses Taught

Psychology 4309 -- Human Motor Control and Learning
This course examines the processes underlying the performance, learning, and adaptation of movement skills such as pursuing moving targets, running, driving, performing musical polyrhythms, hitting, and catching. Motion skills are often sophisticated in their behavioral organization and reflect implicit problem solving in accomplishing various tasks. Motion patterns can also be used to make inferences about underlying perceptual and cognitive processes. Analyzing motion is therefore an important aspect of understanding human behavior.

Psychology 5620 -- Technology, Efficiency, and Happiness
This course examines various ways of evaluating behavioral aspects of new technologies (e.g., mobile communication devices, social media, automotive innovations, sports equipment). Many new consumer products seem like they might improve our lives through increased efficiency, convenience, or power in performing specific tasks. However, technology often has hidden costs such as unexpected effects on social behavior and cultural values, unexpected health consequences, increases in behavioral complexity, surprising patterns of errors in task performance, greater financial expense, and negative environmental impact. It is therefore difficult to predict whether new technology will make us happy, increase creativity, enhance social interactions, or generally improve our quality of life. This course will consider many behavioral dimensions of technology so that people can make informed choices in designing, acquiring, and using new devices.

Psychology 7816 – Action and Decision Making
Action and decision-making in real-time performance domains such as driving, flying, and video games involve dynamic interactions between a person and the environment. Modeling such interactions requires formal analysis of feedback loops and their dynamic properties. This course introduces control theory, a set of mathematical tools for analyzing such interactions by determining how various goals can be achieved over time with different movement patterns or sequences of decisions. The course examines parallels between control strategies in dynamic environments and Bayesian, regression, and heuristic models of decision making in static environments. Measures of attention in spatio-temporal and multi-task contexts are also discussed.

Selected Publications

Jagacinski, R. J., Peper, C. E., & Beek, P. J. (2000). Dynamic, stochastic, and topological aspects of polyrhythmic performance. Journal of Motor Behavior, 32, 323-336.

Jagacinski, R. J. & Flach, J. M. (2003). Control theory for humans: Quantitative approaches to modeling performance. Mahwah, New Jersey: Erlbaum.

Jagacinski, R. J. (2010). A geometrical view of the Crucifix: A call to novel acts of kindness. Parabola, 35(4), 100-103.

Charyton, C., Jagacinski, R. J., Merrill, J. A., Clifton, W., & Dedios, S. (2011). Assessing engineering creativity and creative engineering design in first-year engineering students. Journal of Engineering Education, 100, 778-799.

Flach, J. M., Jagacinski, R. J., & Smith, M. R. H., & McKenna, B. P.(2011). Coupling perception, action, intention, and value: A control theoretic approach to driving performance. In D. L. Fisher, M. Rizzo, J. K. Caird,& J. D. Lee (Eds.), Handbook of driving simulation for engineering, medicine, and psychology (Ch. 43). Boca Raton, Florida: CRC Press.

Kim, T., Jagacinski, R. J., & Lavender, S. A. (2011). Age-related differences in the coordinative structure of the golf swing. Journal of Motor Behavior, 43, 433-444.

Klapp, S. T. & Jagacinski, R. J. (2011). Gestalt principles in the control of motor action. Psychological Bulletin, 137, 443-462.

Charyton, C., Holden, J. G., Jagacinski, R. J., & Elliott, J. O. (2012). A historical and fractal perspective on the life and saxophone solos of John Coltrane. Jazz Perspectives, 6(3), 311-335.

Hancock, P. A., Jagacinski, R. J., Parasuraman, R., Wickens, C. D., Wilson, G. F., & Kaber, D. B. (2013). Human-automation interaction research: Past, present and future. Ergonomics in Design, 21(2), 9-14.


208 Lazenby Hall
1827 Neil Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
(614) 292-1870