This is a revised version of a site originally set up in 1997 [complexcognition.demon.co.uk] which is no longer available.  

I started this new site on Wordpress, but that did not work out and this site is now on Blogger.  

The above .gif was the header of the original site, set up when internet technology was very primitive by modern standards.

The total size of the original site was limited to 5MB.  So nearly every paper was limited to 100KB including graphics.  It's figures that tend to be huge, not text.  Download times were slow, so large Figures were not automatically downloaded but available on request !

Some of these papers were written before there were word-processors, let alone graphics software.  My first personal computer (Commodore PET 1982) had a total memory capacity of 32KB and no graphics, long-term storage was on floppy disks.  

In 1985 I had access to one of the first Macs.  People nowadays don't realise how totally different they were to the other computers then available, or how exciting they were to an ergonomist concerned with support for the user.  Other platforms have had to catch up with the facilities provided.  Though I couldn't afford a Mac myself at the time I was setting up this original site.

And in the late 90s there were no blogs or broadband downloading.

These are the papers I decided, after I took early retirement, that it was important to keep easy access to.  I am not able to supply a copy of any of the other items in my publications list.

Recently Demon, the host company for the original site, was sold and the company which has taken over claims no knowledge of the site.

Hopefully I have managed to rescue most of it.

As this version is just for reference and doesn’t need the interactivity of a website, it was easier to set up this new version as a blog.

This site is now complete, there are no more papers I am planning to add.  Most have been slightly edited to make them easier to understand.  I have also added notes before each paper summarising the key points.

The Home page of the original site just had an introduction, then listed the papers arranged in topic groups.

In this recent version there are several additions to the Home page :

- a section bringing together the case study evidence on cognitive processes, which is referred to in other papers focussed on more theoretical or practical comments.

- a section containing two big summary reviews, one on the cognitive processes underlying human factors/ ergonomics, and another bringing together all the features of the box element/ overview/ meta-knowledge approach to cognitive modelling.

- notes underlining the important differences between my and Jens Rasmussen's cognitive processing models.   Evidently this is something that still needs repeating.

- a list of the papers in chronological order.

Here are some general points, adapted from those on the original site.

Case studies

Many of my papers about practical and theoretical issues are based on generalisations about the nature of complex cognitive processes. But there is not space in those papers give the evidence on which those generalisations are based.  So I have added a section to the Home page drawing attention to case studies which provide the evidence needed.

My papers

These are the most important of the papers I wrote alone.

Where published

Most of my papers don't follow the conventional rules for academic publication as they were written by invitation.  This can make them difficult to find.

This also causes problems with assessments of research quality, which only count papers submitted to journals for peer review.  Not a single one of my papers went through that process.  Some of my early papers (including Ironies) were papers I presented at conferences, which then appeared in a book or journal published as a record of the conference proceedings.  Later papers were either written as invited contributions to books or journal special issues, or were first presented as invited contributions to conferences and then appeared in the publication of proceedings.


I have added comments (in italic) before most papers about the key points made. Isn't the human brain fascinating ! I am amazed by what I can remember about all this, so many years after I was actively involved in studying these topics.

In the original text I have occasionally changed the layout or made small changes to clarify. Bigger additions are in [ ].

One paper (The Representation of Working Storage. . .) needed much work as, decades after writing it, I couldn't understand it myself ! As noted with it, that now includes many explanatory insertions, and some sections I would prefer to delete as they are very dated !

Sexist language

Many of these papers were written in the days before sexist language was considered important.  (And in the 1970s the vast majority of process operators, pilots, and air-traffic controllers were men !) I have made some changes.  Hopefully the only remaining uses of 'he' occur when I refer to a specific individual.   But I don't guarantee to have caught everything.  Where relevant, please read 'he' and 'man' as general terms referring to both sexes.  


Most of the figures come from the days before graphics software.  Some of these figures are from the early 70s and drawn by hand.

To speed up downloading in the early days of the internet, figures were made as small as possible rather than elegant.  So many of the figures are of primitive quality.  I have put some through 'auto sharpen' and redrawn a few that were nearly unreadable, but that takes time and I am not going to re-draw them all to improve the quality to modern standards.  

To minimise repetition and so storage requirements, only one version of each Figure was included on the original site, so it may not be the version originally published with a particular paper.

There are a few papers for which I only had unreadable Figures on file.  Fortunately they were in books. So a few of these figures are photos or scans direct from the books, wonky but readable.

The scans start off as high quality, but for some reason they are muzzy when transferred here - I hope they are readable.

There are a few items which are only available in my Ph.D. thesis.  That is in storage and would need a lot of work to find.  So those items are left as gaps.

The little images on this page are free clip art available when the site was first set up.


My apologies for some inconvenience in accessing the references for some of the papers, but typing references is one of my least favourite tasks.  To minimise repetition, this section consists of a dump of my data bases.


I am long retired and have no knowledge of current issues or ideas for dealing with them.

So I am not competent to respond to comments.

I haven't even got a smart phone.  I have limited manual dexterity, and can't use those tiny keyboards.  I also don't do any computing or internet access on the move.  

I am going to leave comments open as an experiment and will see how it works out.  

I retain the right to delete anything.  I do not think this is a forum for extreme free speech about these issues.

Header photo

Any photo of nature can be a reminder that there is a wide range of issues which are not dealt with well by computers.

I hope you find this collection useful and interesting.

Here is the complete listing of papers available, on the Home page.

©2022 Lisanne Bainbridge


  1. Thank you for preparing this site. I just came across your work as I am learning about Human Factors in an aviation context. There are FAA papers that refer to your work. Your list of "Ironies" struck a chord with me. Many well-publicized failures (Tesla cars, 737 planes, etc.) have roots in the subjects you wrote about. Identified decades, ago but apparently the lessons are learned slowly.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Have you seen the Baxter et al link early on the Home page - more about aviation.

  2. Amazing work and wisdom in your paper. It's been years since I have been working in IT and cybersecurity, and I couldn't put my finger on the inconveniences I faced. It turned out it is characteristic and it has always been. Thank you for your great work. Respectfully.

  3. Thanks for taking the trouble to acknowledge.


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