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High-velocity human factors (HVHF) is a paradigm in the human factors sciences that specifically studies human performance in mission critical domains (MCD), such as military combat, law enforcement, fire fighting, etc., when it experiences nonequilibrium. The domain in the human factors standpoint is said to experience nonequilibrium when the situation is perceived by the human agent as being volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. This is usually accompanied by stress caused by time pressure and emotional reactions (high stakes, little time) inherent to the event or situation.[1] A major component of HVHF theory is informed by the emotional modulation of cognition in the context human–systems interaction.[2] The HVHF paradigm was developed by Moin Rahman, currently a Principal Scientist, at HVHF Sciences, LLC, based on his research done in mission critical domains such as fire fighting, law enforcement, warfare, among others, to better understand human performance during peak and critical moments of a mission. The findings from this research are used to inform the design of human-machine interfaces for the technologies used by mission critical personnel under high stress and for training purposes.

The HVHF analyzes human performance by positing three dimensions:

  1. Velocity differential (lag in information processing between situational demands and capacity of the human agent)
  2. Psychophysiological reactions (cardiac defense, attentional tunneling, functional decortication, etc.)
  3. Decision-making (heuristics, recognition-primed decision-making)

A discourse on the theory and practice of HVHF for the law enforcement domain has been developed and published to inform the design of products and systems for police.[3] Most recently a peer-reviewed paper pertaining to HVHF on understanding human decision making under life threatening conditions was published at the 9th International Conference on Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM).[4]


  1. Rahman, M. (2007a). High Velocity Human Factors: Human factors in mission critical domains in Nonequilibrium. In Proceedings of the Human factors and Ergonomics 51st Annual Meeting. (pp. 273–7) Santa Monica CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
  2. Rahman, M. (2006). Affective factors: Model of cognition under emotional states. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 50th Annual Meeting. (pp. 472–6) Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
  3. Rahman, M. (2007b). A discourse of law enforcement psychobehaviors: Informing design from displays in ethology to high velocity human factors. (Tech Report DHF-KFM-1). Plantation, FL: Design Integration, Motorola
  4. Rahman, M. (2009). Understanding naturalistic decision making under life threatening conditions. Proceedings of the 9th International Conference on Naturalistic Decision Making. (pp. 121–8). Swindon, U.K.: The British Computer Society.

External linksEdit

  1. High velocity human factors: Factoring the human being into future police technology
  2. Law Enforcement Psychobehaviors: From Ethology to High Velocity Human Factors
  3. Human factors and Ergonomics 50th Annual Meeting: Affective Factors: A Model of Cognition Under Emotional States
  4. Human factors and Ergonomics 51st Annual Meeting: High Velocity Human Factors: Human Factors of Mission Critical Domains in Nonequilibrium
  5. HVHF in Human Factors Blog
  6. HVHF Case Study #1: Law Enforcement
  7. HVHF Case Study #2: Airforce Friendly Fire
  8. HVHF Case Study #3: Counter-insurgency
  9. Haditha Killings: a Perspective from High Velocity Human Factors
  10. Facebook: HVHF Group
  11. Moin Rahman's Profile
  12. HVHF Sciences - Official Website
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