Human Factors and Folk Models

Folk models are mental models of how things work, shared by many people, that are not necessarily correct. This presentation discuss the susceptibility of humans to the use of these folk models. The guiding examples are of conclusions drawn from failures of a system where a human factor is involved, such as an airplane crash. Folk models of human task performance are discussed, and the conclusions drawn from these models (such as “the pilot became complacent”) are shown to be useless for decision-makers, despite appearing insightful.

Alex Weber is a Director of BSides Winnipeg, and a co-host of Papers We Love Winnipeg. His day job at Tenable Network Security involves working on the Nessus vulnerability scanner. Alex has a hobbyist interest in cryptography, compilers, and application security.