Dr. Nichols’s work focuses on the cognitive, physical, perceptual, and developmental human factors issues relating to accidents and injuries. Dr. Nichols applies her knowledge to the analysis of the effect of attention on human performance, human information processing and decision-making, and factors influencing compliance with and effectiveness of warnings and safety information. Her work experience includes the analysis of human factors issues in wide variety of scenarios including: the use and misuse of consumer products; human behavior in fires; human response to audible alarms; sports and recreational activities; and slips/trips and falls. Additionally, Dr. Nichols has worked on the development and evaluation of warnings and safety-related information for a wide range of consumer products.
Dr. Nichols uses large-scale databases, such as the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s NEISS database, and analytical techniques to investigate safety-related behaviors, injuries, and accident patterns associated with consumer products and various common activities. Dr. Nichols has conducted product usability studies to examine the physical and cognitive abilities of children and adults as they interact with various products and environments.
Prior to joining Exponent, Dr. Nichols completed a Ph.D. in experimental psychology with a focus in neuroscience at Stanford University and worked as a research associate at SAM Technology and the San Francisco Brain Research Institute. During that time she used a variety of experimental methods, including behavioral, neuroimaging, electrophysiological, and patient case studies, to investigate the brain mechanisms that support memory.