Romy Müller

Faculty of Psychology
Chair of Engineering Psychology and Applied Cognitive Research
Technische Universität Dresden
01069 Dresden

Tel.: +49 351 463 35330
Fax: +49 351 463 37741

Visiting Address
Office Building Zellescher Weg (BZW)
Zellescher Weg 17
Room A225

Research Interests

My research focuses on two areas: the coordination of joint action, and human-machine interaction during fault diagnosis.

In my basic research on joint action, I am trying to find out how implicit signals about a partner's attention and action are processed and how they are used to guide a person's own action. In the past, I have asked how people interpret and use information about a remote partner's gaze in computer-mediated cooperation. Currently, I am interested in processes of action effect anticipation in joint tasks. If we interact with a partner and are able to predict how he will react to our actions, does this influence our action planning? I am extending research on ideomotor effect anticipation to the selection among competing task sets. That is, I am asking how task set selection processes are changed when knowing that a partner will either perform a compatible or incompatible task.

In my more applied research, I am investigating fault diagnosis and the role assistance systems can play in it. First, we study the cooperation between remote partners during fault diagnosis in experimental scenarios that are inspired by the process industries. Second, we study fault diagnosis in food manufacturing and ask how this activity can be supported by dialogue-based assistance systems (conversational case-based reasoning). We do so both by conducting field studies in a company that produces and packages chocolate, and by conducting lab experiments that aim at transferring knowledge from the Human Factors and Psycholinguistics literature to dialogues between humans and assistance systems.

Several general questions are important to me in my applied research:

  • How can we use knowledge from basic research to understand and enhance human-machine cooperation? For instance, what can the literature on decision making and cognitive control contribute to our understanding of operator challenges in modular chemical plants?
  • How do the challenges that operators are faced with depend on the specifics of the technical systems, and how does this differ between domains? For instance, what distinguishes operator roles, tasks, and cognitive requirements between the process industries and discrete processing?
  • How can we design assistance systems that do not simply tell operators what to do but aid them in understanding the situation? What do operators need to know about the causes of a fault and the interactions between the machine, process parameters and environmental factors?


  • KoMMDia: Cooperative human-machine dialogues for fault diagnosis in processing
    machinery (BMBF, 2017-2020)
  • PlantCom: Supporting remote communication between control room and field in the process industries  (DFG, 2016-2019)
  • IdeJo-Action: Ideomotor effects in joint action: The influence of anticipated partner reactions on action control (DFG, 2014-2016)
  • Communicative Eye Movements (PhD grant, 2008-2011)



  • Introduction to Cognitive Science / Cognitive Ergonomics

  • Engineering Psychology
  • Applied Cognitive Research


  • Attention and Eye Movements
  • Engineering Psychology and Applied Cognition   


Müller, R. & Oehm, L. (2018). Process industries versus discrete processing: How system characteristics affect operator tasks. Cognition, Technology & Work. doi: 10.1007/s10111-018-0511-1 Link to article

Müller, R., Ullrich, L., Dessel, A.-K., Bengsch, A., Heinze, S., Müller, T., & Oehm, L. (2018). Case-based decision support for fault diagnosis: Do salient ratings discourage situation analysis? Human Factors and Ergonomics in Manufacturing & Service Industries. doi: 10.1002/hfm.20757 Link to article

Müller, R. (2018). Cognitive challenges of changeability: Adjustment to system changes and transfer of knowledge in modular chemical plants. Cognition, Technology & Work. doi: 10.1007/s10111-018-0489-8 Link to article

Müller, R., & Jung, M. L. (2018). Partner reactions and task set selection: Compatibility is more beneficial in the stronger task. Acta Psychologica, 185, 188–202. doi: 10.1016/j.actpsy.2018.02.012 Link to article

Müller, R., & Urbas, L. (2017). Cognitive challenges of changeability: Multi-level flexibility for operating a modular chemical plant. Chemie Ingenieur Technik, 89(11), 1409–1420. doi:10.1002/cite.201700029. Link to article

Müller, R., Narciss, S., & Urbas, L. (2017). Interfacing cyber-physical systems with human decision makers. In H. Song, D. B. Rawat, S. Jeschke & C. Brecher (Eds.), Cyber-Physical Systems: Foundations, Principles and Applications (pp. 145-160). Elsevier. Link to abstract

Müller, R. (2016). Does the anticipation of contingent partner reactions facilitate action planning in joint tasks? Psychological Research, 80(4), 464–486. doi: 10.1007/s00426-015-0670-0 Link to article

Müller, R., Helmert, J.R., & Pannasch, S. (2014). Limitations of gaze transfer: Without visual context, eye movements do not to help to coordinate joint action, whereas mouse movements do. Acta Psychologica, 152(1), 19-28. doi:10.1016/j.actpsy.2014.07.013 Link to article

Müller, R., Helmert, J.R., Pannasch, S., & Velichkovsky B.M. (2013). Gaze transfer in remote cooperation: Is it always helpful to see what your partner is attending to? Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 66(7), 1302-1316. doi: 10.1080/17470218.2012.737813 Link to article

Müller, R. (2012). Blickbewegungen in der computermediierten Kooperation: Chancen und Schwierigkeiten in der Verwendung einer weniger expliziten Kommunikationstechnologie. Unpublished dissertation. Dresden: Technische Universität Dresden. Download Dissertation

Pannasch, S., Helmert, J.R., Müller, R. & Velichkovsky, B.M. (2012). The analysis of eye movements in the context of cognitive technical systems: Three critical issues. In A. Esposito, M. A. Esposito, A. Vinciarelli, R. Hoffmann, & V. C. Müller (Eds.) Cognitive Behavioural Systems, LNCS (Vol. 7403, pp. 19-34) Berlin: Springer-Verlag. Link to article

Conference presentations: Joint action and gaze transfer

Müller, R., Wienß, E., & Bärwinkel, H. (2018). Does task asymmetry determine the influence of anticipated partner reactions on task set selection? Poster presented at the 60. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, Marburg, March 11-14.

Müller, R. (2017). Anticipated partner reactions do not affect grasp initiation in joint object manipulation. Poster presented at the 59. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, Dresden, March 27-29.

Müller, R. (2017). Coherence judgements in the Remote Associates Task are faster when people believe that another human has seen the triad before. Talk at the 59. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, Dresden, March 27-29.

Müller, R. & Jung, M.L. (2016). Incompatible partner reactions improve performance in the weaker task of a picture-word interference paradigm – But only if they can be ignored. Talk at the 58. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, Heidelberg, March 21-23.

Müller, R. (2015). Visualisierung von Blickübertragung: Cursors, Highlights und Spotlights. Talk at the Ebiss Workshop, Dortmund, December 03-04.

Müller, R. (2015). Temporally compatible partner reactions facilitate action initiation and produce contrast effects on movement duration. Talk at the EuroAsianPacific Joint Conference on Cognitive Science, Torino, September 25-27.

Müller, R. (2015). Joint spatial and temporal response-effect compatibility: Do anticipated reactions of a partner facilitate the planning and execution of hand movements? Poster presented at the 6th Joint Action Meeting, Budapest, July 1-4.

Müller, R. (2015). The impact of anticipated partner reactions on attentional selection. Talk at the 57. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, Hildesheim, March 8-11.

Müller, R. (2014). The effects of observing other people’s gaze: Faster intuitive judgments of semantic coherence. Poster presented at the KogWis 2014, Tübingen, September 29 - October 2. Download short paper

Müller, R., & Kammer, D. (2013). Does the anticipation of a partner's reaction affect action planning? Spatial action-effect compatibility in a joint task. Poster presented at the CogSci 2013, Berlin, July 31 - August 3.

Müller, R. (2013). Response-effect compatibility with self-generated and partner-produced effects. Poster presented at the 55. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, Vienna, March 25-27.

Müller, R., Helmert, J.R.,  Pannasch, S., & Velichkovsky B.M. (2011). Following closely? The effects of viewing conditions on gaze versus mouse transfer in remote cooperation. Paper presented at the Dual Eyetracking Workshop 2011, Aarhus, September 24-28. Download full paper

Müller, R., Helmert, J.R., Pannasch, S., & Velichkovsky B.M. (2011). In search for the optimal communication means in joint cooperation: Gaze versus mouse transfer. Poster presented at the 16th European Conference on Eye Movements, Marseille, August 21-25.

Müller, R., Helmert, J.R.,  Pannasch, S., & Velichkovsky B.M. (2010). How does the level of interaction mediate the benefit of gaze transfer in a cooperative puzzle task? Talk at the KogWis 2010. Potsdam, October 3-6.

Müller, R. (2010). Gaze transfer in computer-mediated cooperation. Talk at the Fourth International Conference on Cognitive Science, Tomsk, June 21-26.

Müller, R., Reiche, A., Pannasch, S. & Velichkovsky B.M. (2010). Communication by way of gaze transfer: Using eye-movement data to improve computer-mediated cooperation in a puzzle solving task. Poster presented at the 52.Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, Saarbrücken, March 22-24.

Müller, R., Pannasch, S. & Velichkovsky B.M. (2009). Comparing eye movements for perception and communication: Changes in visual fixation durations and saccadic amplitudes. Perception 38 ECVP Abstract (suppl), p. 23.

Müller, R., Pannasch, S. & Velichkovsky B.M. (2009). Gaze-based communication influences visual fixation durations and saccadic amplitudes. Poster presented at the 51. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, Jena, March 29 - April 1.

Conference presentations: Human-machine interaction

Müller, R. (2018). Human-machine cooperation in highly automated systems. Talk at the ARC Industry Forum Europe, Barcelona (Sitges), May 15-16.

Bönsel, R., Schegner, L., Heinze, S., Urbas, L., & Müller, R. (2018). The impact of shared mental models on team performance in a fault diagnosis task. Poster presented at the 60. Tagung experimentell arbeitender Psychologen, Marburg, March 11-14.

Müller, R., Dessel, A.-K., Bengsch, A., Heinze, S. , & Oehm, L. (2017). Case-based decision support for fault diagnosis: Salient outcome ratings do not discourage thorough situation analysis. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Rome, September 28-30.

Müller, R. (2017). Mensch-Maschine-Kooperation in hochautomatisierten Systemen. Talk at the VVD-Anwenderforum, Dresden, September 26. 

Oehm, L., Müller, T., Müller, R., Ziegler, J., Majschak, J.-P., Urbas, L., & Schult, A. (2016). Kooperative Störungsdiagnose durch Bediener und Assistenzsystem für Verarbeitungsanlagen. Poster presented at the Zweite Transdisziplinäre Konferenz: Technische Unterstützungssysteme, die die Menschen wirklich wollen. Hamburg, December 12-13.

Müller, R., Ullrich, L., Müller, T., Ziegler, J., & Oehm, L. (2016). Case-based decision support for fault diagnosis: The impact of salient case ratings on situation analysis and solution focus. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Prague, October 26-28.

Riese, L., Dostert, J., Hoffmann, R., Pfeffer, J., Urbas, L, & Müller, R.  (2016). Communication between control room and field operators in the process industries. Poster presented at the Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, Prague, October 26-28.

Müller, R. (2015). Der Mensch auf Standby: Wie Automatisierung unser Denken und Handeln beeinflusst. Talk at the Gesellschaft für Arbeitswissenschaft Herbstkonferenz, Dresden, September 21-22.

Lambeck, C., Fohrholz, C., Leyh, C., Supulniece, I., & Müller, R. (2014). Commonalities; Contrasts: An Investigation of ERP Usability in a Comparative User Study. Proceedings of the 22nd European Conference on Information Systems. Tel Aviv, Israel.

Lambeck, C., Fohrholz, C., Leyh, C., & Müller, R. (2014). (Re-) Evaluating User Interface Aspects in ERP Systems - An Empirical User Study. Proceedings of the 47th Hawaiian International Conference on System Sciences. Waikoloa, Hawaii, USA.

Conference presentations on other topics

Müller, R. (2018). Psychologie und Klimaschutz. Talk at the 23. Tag der Erneuerbaren Energien, Oederen, April 28.

Kammer, D., Müller, R., Wojdziak, J., Zavesky, M., Weyprecht, P., Schönefeld, F., & Groh, R. (2012). Innovationspotenzial validieren: Anwendungsgebiete für die 3D-Plattform Bildsprache LiveLab. Innovationsforum open4INNOVATION2012 regional kooperativ-global innovativ Beiträge zum Fachforum. Technische Universität Dresden, Germany.

Helmert, J.R., Müller, R., Pannasch, S., & Velichkovsky, B.M. (2008). Influence of scene background and spatial arrangement of objects on gaze behaviour. Perception 37 ECVP Abstract (suppl), p. 95.

Other Interests

My horses Titum, Summy, Pia and Bacardy

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Sebastian Pannasch
Letzte Änderung: 24.07.2018