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As the nature of human interaction with modernized socio-technical systems is increasingly cognitive and complex, many studies have been devoted to examine a range of complexity factors influencing human cognitive performance. However, there is a lack of theoretical basis of discerning and categorizing those factors. It is thus inevitable to establish a conceptual framework that can be used to identify and organize the complexity factors in an analytical way. In this paper, we regard the world of complexity factors as an abstract system and propose a new framework consisting of five views, each of which is concerned with certain aspects of the abstract system. To develop the framework more systematically, we conducted a comprehensive literature review and applied a system thinking approach to deriving a set of requirements to be satisfied by the framework. Of those five views, we particularly emphasize the roles of knowledge view. Thus a complexity factor model based on the knowledge view is also proposed. We describe two possible uses of the framework and the complexity factor model, which are the analytical identification of the complexity factors and the systematic assessment of the complexity factors identified by earlier studies.
Date of Publication: June 2011