SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  OSD10-CR1 (OSD)
Title:  Rapid Assessment of Team Cognitive Readiness
Research & Technical Areas:  Information Systems, Human Systems

Acquisition Program:  
  Objective:  The objective of this topic is to develop a sensor and analysis suite that rapidly assesses the cognitive readiness of teams before – or as they are – participating in military operations.
  Description:  Current and future combat operations will continue to place a strong emphasis on team and joint operations. As with individual Warfighters, it is vitally important for commanders and leaders to have the ability to quickly assess the overall cognitive readiness of these teams and joint groups, before and during military operations. Team cognitive readiness represents a unique extension of individual cognitive readiness in that it is an outcome of individuals joining together for the purpose of exploiting one another’s individual skills to successfully accomplish a common goal [1]. On the other hand, while much is known about how individuals develop skills [2,3,4], comparatively less is known about how team skills develop and how team members work together as a coordinated unit. Importantly, team cognitive readiness is not simply a linear combination of individual members’ cognitive readiness, because often times different individual levels of readiness may combine constructively or destructively. Consequently, it is difficult to determine, using available assessment techniques, when a given team is at an effective level of cognitive readiness. Current readiness metrics are based on team performance measures, which often use observational analysis coupled with expert evaluation [5,6], or event based measurements [7]. These measures ignore the temporal nature of team behavior and reveal little about the dynamic processes through which teams respond, evolve and develop [8]. Consequently they do not provide a solid enough foundation upon which to generate rapid assessments of cognitive readiness. Recent work that cuts across different domains – cognitive neuroscience, network science, non linear dynamics and neural-imaging sciences – has suggested that advanced measurement technologies and analytic techniques may be used to reveal the underlying basis for team coordination [9,10]. When these emerging approaches are combined with past work exploring the differences between effective and ineffective teams [11] a unique opportunity is presented to establish criteria and technologies for quickly assessing the cognitive readiness of teams. The focus of this topic is on developing neurocognitive measures of team readiness, which can be detected and analyzed by a suite of sensors combined with analysis tools. This sensor suite, along with the to-be-developed metrics, should be capable of gathering individual and team level data (e.g. neural, cognitive and behavioral) as well as assessment-environment generated data, as required, to allow for the identification of the etiology and assessment of team cognitive readiness. The system should be able to complete data collection and assessment within a reasonable time frame, and with a small enough technical footprint, that it would not be disruptive of combat operations.

  PHASE I: Define requirements for developing a technology that rapidly assesses the cognitive readiness of teams before they participate in military operations. Requirements definition must include: a description of the overall architecture that will be used to assess team cognitive readiness; a determination of the types and characteristics of metrics that will be captured and used; a detailed discussion of the analysis and assessment techniques to be used; and, a discussion of system performance metrics including both measures of effectiveness and measures of performance. Phase II plans should also be provided, to include key component technological milestones and plans for testing and validation of the proposed system and its components. Phase I should also include the processing and submission of any necessary human subjects use protocols.
  PHASE II: Develop a prototype system based on the preliminary design from Phase I. All appropriate engineering testing will be performed, and a critical design review will be performed to finalize the design. Phase II deliverables will include: (1.) a working prototype of the system, (2) specification for its development, (3) demonstration and validation of ability to rapidly assess team cognitive readiness and, (4) test data that demonstrates improved outcomes as a result of knowing the level of team cognitive readiness.

  PHASE III: This technology will have broad application in military as well as commercial settings. Within the military, there is increasing emphasis on the ability of teams to operate in a distributed manner, away from direct observation from military commanders. Consequently tools that afford leadership the ability to monitor and assess these distributed teams’ readiness are crucial to ensuring successful military operations. Similarly, in the commercial sector, teams –distributed or collocated –continue to play an important role in critical and high stress/high operations tempo environments like: Disaster relief, first responders, Air Traffic Control, Aviation. The proposed system should allow managers and team leads to gauge the current and projected readiness of their teams, enabling them to make critical personnel and manning decisions in near real time.

  References:  [1] Dyer, J. C. (1984). Team research and team training: A state of the art review. In F. A. Muckler (Ed.), Human factors review (pp.285-323). Santa Monica, CA: Human Factors Society. [2] Fitts, P.M. (1964). Perceptual motor skills learning. In A.W. Melton (Ed.), Categories of human learning. (pp. 243-285). New York Academic Press. [3] Dreyfus, H.C. & Dreyfus, S.E. (1980). A five-stage model of the mental activities involved in directed skill acquisition. ORC 80-2 (F49620-79-C-0063). Bolling, AFB, Washington, DC. Air Force Office of Scientific Research: United States Air Force. [4] Ericsson, K.A., Krampe, R. Th., and Tesch-Romer, C., (1993). The role of deliberate practice in the acquisition of expert performance. Psychological Review, 700, p. 379 and p. 384. [5] Brannick, M.T., Roach, R.M., & Salas, E. (1993). Understanding team performance: A multimethod study. Human Performance, 6:287-308. [6] Modrick, J.A. (1986). Team performance and training. In J. Zeidner (Ed.), Human productivity enhancement: Training and human factors in systems design (Vol 1) New York: Praeger. [7] Fowlkes, J.E., Lane, N.E., Salas, E., Franz, T., & Oser, R. (!994). Improving the measurement of team performance: The TARGETs methodology. Military Psychology, 6:47-61. [8] Buller, P.F.(1986) The team building-task performance relation: Some conceptual and methodological refinements. Group & Organizational Studies, 11:147-168. [9] Oullier, O., DeGuzman, G.C., Jantzen, K.J., Lagarde, J., & Kelso, J.A.S. (2008). Social coordination dynamics: Measuring human bonding. Social Neuroscience, 3:178-192. [10] Gorman, J. C., Hessler, E. E., Cooke, N. J., & Amazeen, P. G. (2009). Dynamics of team coordination and adaptive performance. 15th International Conference on Perception and Action, Minneapolis, MN. [11] Glaser, R. (1996). Changing the agency for learning: Acquiring expert performance. In K. A. Ericsson (Ed.), The road to excellence (pp. 303-311). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Lawrence Erlbaum & Associates & Associates.

Keywords:  Cognitive Readiness, Team Performance, Assessment, Non linear, Neuroscience

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