Humans in Complex Systems, 9 credits

Människan i komplexa system, 9 hp


Main field of study

Cognitive Science

Course level

First cycle

Course type

Single subject and programme course


Erik Prytz

Course coordinator

Erik Prytz

Director of studies or equivalent

Jalal Maleki

Available for exchange students

ECV = Elective / Compulsory / Voluntary
Course offered for Semester Weeks Timetable module Language Campus ECV
Single subject course (Half-time, Day-time) Autumn 2020 202036-202046 - English Linköping, Valla
F7KKO Bachelor´s Programme in Cognitive Science 5 (Autumn 2020) 202036-202046 4 English Linköping, Valla E
F7MKS Master Programme in Cognitive Science 1 (Autumn 2020) 202036-202046 4 English Linköping, Valla E
F7MKS Master Programme in Cognitive Science 3 (Autumn 2020) 202036-202046 4 English Linköping, Valla E

Main field of study

Cognitive Science

Course level

First cycle

Advancement level


Course offered for

  • Bachelor´s Programme in Cognitive Science
  • Master Programme in Cognitive Science

Entry requirements

General entry requirements for undergraduate studies
English corresponding to the level of English in Swedish upper secondary education (Engelska B/6)
Social Studies corresponding to the level of Social Studies in Swedish upper secondary education
Mathematics corresponding to the level of Mathematics in Swedish upper secondary education
90 credits from semester 1 to 4 of the programme
9 ECTS credits passed in Cognitive Science Introductory Course
Passed at least one of the courses Information Technology and Programming 12 ECTS credits, Research Methodology and Statistics 9 ECTS credits or Qualitative Research Methods 6 ECTS credits

(Exemption from Swedish) 

Intended learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student will be able to:

  • Account for and contrast the context and historical development of central theories connected to the study of human behaviour in complex systems, such as cybernetics, systems science, human factors, cognitive systems engineering and naturalistic “cognition in the wild”-perspectives.
  • Apply theories and methods from the field of human factors and cognitive systems engineering to analyse and evaluate human–machine systems and joint cognitive systems.
  • Describe the role of central human factors concepts in the study of human–machine systems.
  • Critically reflect on perspectives and theoretical foundations of system complexity, cognitive systems design, and control of cognitive systems.
  • Analyse how a cognitive system can be delimited from a control perspective.
  • Explain central concepts and perspectives on safety in human-machine systems.
  • Describe common risk and accident analysis approaches and models in human–machine systems.

Course content

The contents of the course are focused on human factors from a system perspective. This covers historical and current approaches to human-centred systems analyses such as cybernetics, human factors, and joint cognitive systems (JCS). The course primarily concerns complex, technical systems that include humans, technology and artefacts, and sociocultural factors, and how to design, analyse, and evaluate such systems from micro and macro perspectives. The following aspects are covered:

  • An introduction to systems science, systems theory, cybernetics, cognitive systems engineering, and resilience engineering
  • An elaboration on central, theoretical constructs from cognitive psychology and human factors and their function in the context of complex sociotechnical and cognitive systems.
  • How to apply fundamental assessment and measurement methods of concepts central to human factors to study complex systems.
  • How to analyse human-machine systems, complex systems, and joint cognitive systems from micro and macro perspectives.
  • An overview of different risk and accident analysis methods.

Teaching and working methods

This course includes lectures, seminars, practical exercises, and study visits. The student is expected to study independently, individually or in groups.


The course is examined by:

  • Assignments (individual and in groups), grading scale: UG
  • Written examination, grading scale: EC

Final grades for the course are based on the written examination, assuming that the assignments have been passed.

If the LiU coordinator for students with disabilities has granted a student the right to an adapted examination for a written examination in an examination hall, the student has the right to it. If the coordinator has instead recommended for the student an adapted examination or alternative form of examination, the examiner may grant this if the examiner assesses that it is possible, based on consideration of the course objectives.

Students failing an exam covering either the entire course or part of the course twice are entitled to have a new examiner appointed for the reexamination.

Students who have passed an examination may not retake it in order to improve their grades.



Other information

Planning and implementation of a course must take its starting point in the wording of the syllabus. The course evaluation included in each course must therefore take up the question how well the course agrees with the syllabus.

The course is carried out in such a way that both men´s and women´s experience and knowledge is made visible and developed.


Institutionen för datavetenskap
Code Name Scope Grading scale
GRP1 Group examination 1 credits U, G
UPG1 Individual written assignments 1 credits U, G
TEN1 Written exam 7 credits EC
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