UAH professor to discuss the psychology of disaster decision-making.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (January 12, 2012) —Psychology professor Dr. Marita A. O’Brien will examine and discuss the “Psychology of Hazardous Weather Warnings,” next month on the campus of The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH).

The UAH Honors Forum sponsors the presentation. The talk will begin at 11:10 a.m., on Thursday, Feb. 2, in the Frank Franz Hall Multipurpose room (138). The event is free and open to the public.

O’Brien’s presentation will focus on hazardous weather preparation and coping with the aftermath of natural disasters. In preliminary research data, she found that “people generally take (weather) warnings seriously, but feel that there's only so much you can do — especially given the general low likelihood that a tornado will to hit them.” She also examined information sources and technologies used during the warning period and in the aftermath until power was restored.

O’Brien is an assistant professor of psychology at UAH, and the primary investigator of the Everyday Technologies Laboratory at UAH. The purpose of the lab is to improve the safety and usability of technology we encounter every day by transferring psychological research to designers of technologies, transportation systems, health care providers, etc. for improved effectiveness and acceptance.

O’Brien received an undergraduate degree in mathematics and economics from Duke University. She earned a graduate degree in telecommunications engineering from The University of Colorado, Boulder. O’Brien earned a second master’s degree in engineering psychology, and a Ph.D., from Georgia Institute of Technology.

For additional information about UAH Honors Forum lectures, please call 256.824.6450.

For more information
Joyce Anderson-Maples, (256) 824-2101


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