Department of Psychology

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Dr. Marita O'Brien

Dr. Marita O’Brien

Assistant Professor of Psychology

maobrien@franciscan.edu
(740) 283-6852

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Dr. O’Brien is an assistant professor of psychology at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. Her specialization is in engineering psychology which investigates the capabilities and limitations of humans to sense, store, process information, and act so that the design of technologies, processes, and training can be improved. Dr. O’Brien earned her Ph.D. in engineering psychology from Georgia Tech with a minor in cognitive aging. She also holds an M.S. in Telecommunications Engineering from the University of Colorado and an A.B. in Math from Duke University. Her main research interests are everyday decision-making and human error, everyday technology design and learning, disaster preparation, and human resilience. Prior to her academic career, she spent more than 10 years advising Fortune 500 clients on the design of customer interfaces at Deloitte Consulting and Morgan Stanley & Company.

  • Ph.D. – Georgia Institute of Technology, Engineering Psychology (2010); Minor: Cognitive Aging
  • M.S. – Georgia Institute of Technology, Engineering Psychology (2006)
  • M.S. – University of Colorado, Boulder, Telecommunications (1994)
  • A.B. – Duke University, Math/Economics (1988)
  • Assistant Professor of Psychology, Franciscan University of Steubenville, August 2014 – present
  • Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Alabama in Huntsville, January 2010 – May 2014.
  • Medical Device Fellow,
    Human Factors, Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH)
    U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), Rockville, MD
    May – September 2006
  • Senior Manager,
    Deloitte Consulting, Atlanta, GA and Sydney, Australia
    1994 – 2003
  • Network Analyst,
    Morgan Stanley & Company, NY
    1988 – 1992
  • Human Factors & Ergonomic Society (HFES)
  • Association for Psychological Science
  • American Psychological Association, Division 20 and 21
  • Fellowship of Catholic Scholars
  • American Meteorological Society
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Select Publications
  • O’Brien, M.A. & Shreeves, M., (Accepted), Essential household capabilities for community resilience during a post-tornado blackout. International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Fausset, C.B., Mann, E.L., & Harrington, C.N. (2014), Using impairment simulation tools to demonstrate age-related challenges in everyday tasks and promote universal design. Proceedings of the 58th HFES Annual Meeting. Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
  • O’Brien, M. A., and Shreeves, M. (2013). Evaluating the interactive socialcognitive model for explaining non-compliance to disaster warning. In Proceedings of the HFES 57th Annual Meeting. (pp. 1702-1706). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Full List

  • Shreeves, M., and O’Brien, M. A. (2013). Decision-making and information use among residents during an extended natural disaster. Proceedings of the 57th HFES Annual Meeting. (pp. 1770-1774). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
  • Rogers, W.A., O’Brien, M.A., & Fisk, A.D., (2013), Cognitive engineering to support successful aging. In J. Lee & A. Kirlik (Eds.), Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Engineering. (pp. 286-301). Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Bass, E.J., Bliss, J.P., Cooke, N.J., Kalsher, M.J., & Mayhorn, C.B. (2012). Improving residents’ response to disaster warnings: A discussion panel. In Proceedings of the 56th Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting. (pp 2036-2039). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W.A., & Fisk, A.D. (2012). Understanding age and technology experience differences in use of prior knowledge for everyday technology interactions. ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing, 4(2), Article 2, doi: 10.1145/2141943.2141947.
  • Mitzner, T.L., O’Brien, M.A., & Rogers, W. A. (2012). Emerging technologies for health care and aging. In CHI EA ’12 Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems. New York: ACM.
  • O’Brien, M.A. & Rogers, W.A., (2012), Design for aging: Enhancing everyday technology Use. In R.Z. Zheng, R.D. Hill, & M.K. Gardner (Eds.), Engaging Older Adults with Modern Technology: Internet Use and Information Access Needs (pp. 105-123). Hershey, PA: IGI Publishing.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Weger, K., DeFour, M.E., & Reeves, S.M. (2011), Examining the role of age and experience on use of knowledge in the world for everyday technology interactions. In Proceedings of the 55th Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting. (pp 177-181), Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
  • Olson, K. E., O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W.A., & Charness, N. (2011). Diffusion of technology for younger and older adults. Ageing International, 36(1), 123-145. doi: 10.1007/s12126-010-9077-9.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W.A. & Fisk, A.D., (2010), Understanding the role of experience in younger and older adults’ interactions with a novel technology. In Proceedings of the 54th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (pp. 1827-1831), San Francisco.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W.A., & Fisk, A.D. (2010). Does prior experience mitigate age-related differences in interactions with a Kindle electronic book reader? Gerontechnology, 9(2), 235.
  • Cullen, R.H., O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W. A., & Fisk, A. D. (2009). The persistence of content knowledge. In Proceedings of the 53rd Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting (pp 955-959), Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W.A., Fisk, A.D., & Richman, M. (2008), Assessing design features of virtual keyboards for text entry. Human Factors, 50, 680-698.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W.A., & Fisk, A.D. (2008). Text entry interface design requirements at a glance. Ergonomics in Design, 16 (4),16-22.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W. A., & Fisk, A. D. (2008). Developing a framework for intuitive human-computer interaction. In Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting (pp 1645-1649), Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Olson, K.E., Charness, N., Czaja, S.J., Fisk, A.D., Rogers, W.A. & Sharit, J. (2008). Understanding technology usage in older adults. In Proceedings of the 6th International Society for Gerontechnology (ISG08) (CDROM Paper No. ICT-014). Pisa, Italy: International Society for Gerontechnology.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W.A., & Fisk, A.D., (2008), Evaluating design features that affect older adults’ performance on common computer tasks. In A. Mihailidis, J. Boger, H. Kautz, & L. Normie (Eds.), Technology and Aging. Selected Papers from the 2007 International Conference on Technology and Aging: Vol. 21 Assistive Technology Research Series (pp. 223-230). Amsterdam: IOS Press.
  • Rogers, W. A., McLaughlin, A. C., & O’Brien, M. A. (2006). Selection and design of input devices for assistive technologies. In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Control, Automation, Robotics, and Vision (pp.92- 97), New York: IEEE.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W. A., & Fisk, A. D. (2006). Text entry on a virtual keyboard: Evaluating shape and practice effects. In Proceedings of the 50th Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting (pp. 747-751). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
  • Caine, K. E., O’Brien, M. A., Park, S., Rogers, W. A., Fisk, A. D., Van Ittersum, K., Capar, M. & Parsons, L. J. (2006). Understanding acceptance of high technology products: 50 years of research. In Proceedings of the 50th Annual Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting (pp. 2148- 2152). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
  • O’Brien, M.A., Rogers, W.A., & Fisk, A.D (2005). Examining keyboard shape and arrangement effects for younger and older adults. In Proceedings of the 49th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (pp. 172-176). Santa Monica: CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
  • O’Brien, M.A. (2004). Keyboard shape and arrangement effects on keyboard design elements. In Proceedings of the 48th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (pp. 2147-2151). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
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