Richard W. Backs received his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from the University of Southern California in 1984. He has previously held appointments at Occidental College, Washington University, the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, and Wright State University, conducting research in Human Factors Engineering. He has been at Central Michigan University since 1995.
My research is an area I define as the psychophysiology of attention in human performance. It emphasizes the applied aspects of attention theory, and my recent studies have examined autonomic (electrocardiographic, impedance cardiographic, and pulmonary) and central (EEG and event-related potential) measures concurrently during focused and divided attention tasks in the laboratory and in the driving simulator. I have adopted a cognitive/energetic perspective to account for how cognition is affected by factors such as emotion and environmental and task stressors. I am also interested in how aging affects the psychophysiology of attention, especially during driving.
Oliver, M. L., Nigg, J.T., Cassavaugh, N. D., & Backs, R. W. (2012). Behavioral and cardiovascular responses to frustration during simulated driving tasks in young adults with and without attention disorder symptoms. Journal of Attention Disorders, 16, 478-490. doi 10.1177/1087054710397132.
Musser, E.D, Backs, R.W., Schmitt, C.F, Ablow, J.C., Measelle, J.R., & Nigg, J.T. (2011). Emotion regulation via the autonomic nervous system in children with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, 39, 841-852. doi 10.1007/s10802-011-9499-1.
Lenneman, J. K., & Backs, R. W. (2009). Cardiac autonomic control during simulated driving with a concurrent verbal working memory task. Human Factors, 51, 404-418.
da Silva, S. P., Hulce, V. D., & Backs, R. W. (2009). Effects of obstructive sleep apnea on autonomic cardiac control during sleep. Sleep and Breathing, 13, 147-156.
Boucsein, W., & Backs, R. W. (2009). The psychophysiology of emotion, arousal, and personality: Methods and models. In V. G. Duffy (Ed.), Handbook of Digital Human Modeling for Applied Ergonomics and Human Factors Engineering, (pp. 35-1 - 35-18). London: Taylor & Francis.
Backs, R. W., & Boucsein, W. (2009). Psychophysiology in digital human modeling. In V. G. Duffy (Ed.), Handbook of Digital Human Modeling for Applied Ergonomics and Human Factors Engineering, (pp. 16-1 - 16-14). London: Taylor & Francis.
Lenneman, J. K., & Backs, R. W. (2007). Diagnosticity of cardiac modes of autonomic control elicited by simulated driving and verbal working memory dual-tasks. In D. Harris (Ed.), Engineering Psychology and Cognitive Ergonomics, LNAI 4563, (pp. 541-550). Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
Nelson, M., Tuttle, S., & Backs, R. W. (2007). An examination of the relationship between attention profiles and simulated driving performance. Proceedings of the Fourth International Driving Symposium on Human Factors in Driver Assessment, Training, and Vehicle Design (pp. 423-430). Iowa City, IA: University of Iowa.
Backs, R. W., Rohdy, J., & Barnard, J. (2005). Cardiac control during dual-task performance of visual or auditory monitoring with visual-manual tracking. Psychologia, 48, 66-83.
Backs, R. W., da Silva, S. P., & Han, K. (2005). A comparison of younger and older adults’ Self-Assessment Manikin ratings of affective pictures. Experimental Aging Research, 31, 1-20.
Backs, R. W., Shelley, J. R., & Lenneman, J. K. (2005). Using modes of cardiac autonomic control to assess demands upon processing resources during driving. In D. D. Schmorrow (Ed.), Foundations of Augmented Cognition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates.
Backs, R. W., Lenneman, J. K., Wetzel, J. M., & Green, P. (2003). Cardiac measures of driver workload during simulated driving with and without visual occlusion. Human Factors, 45, 525-538.
Backs, R. W. (2001). An autonomic space approach to the psychophysiological assessment of mental workload (pp. 279-289). In P. A. Hancock, & P. A. Desmond (Eds.), Stress, Workload, and Fatigue. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates.