SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  OSD10-CR3 (OSD)
Title:  Immersive Scenario Based Training Environments for Intuitive Decision Making
Research & Technical Areas:  Information Systems, Human Systems

Acquisition Program:  
  Objective:  The objective of this topic is to develop a capability to enhance and augment warfighters’ intuitive decision making skills by embedding neurocognitive measures of intuition into immersive scenario based training applications.
  Description:  The shifting emphasis of warfare from symmetric and predictable to asymmetric and unpredictable, combined with changing military doctrine that provides greater autonomy to Warfighters, has placed an increasingly important requirement to develop Warfighters who are as cognitively ready as they are physically prepared [1]. One important consequence of this shifting emphasis is that our Warfighters are now being called upon to make decisions under vastly different operational situations and conditions. Whereas previous types of military missions may have allowed for logically reasoned responses to threats based on analyses of multiple sets of information, military missions in this new combat environment require a more dynamic kind of decision making, made under time constraints and based on partial or incomplete information [2,3,4]. This type of decision making is commonly referred to as ‘intuitive decision making’ or, more simply, as ‘intuition’ - a rapid, non-conscious, cue to the existence of meaningful information detected through one or more sensory modalities, often accompanied by affective and somatic reactions [5,6]. Intuition can be understood as the interaction between one’s existing knowledge structures and incoming information enabling one to rapidly make sense of partial or incomplete information, and subsequently take necessary actions although they may not be fully understood [7,8]. Intuition therefore requires a level of domain knowledge in order to establish the required knowledge structures to make sense of incoming information [3]. The tight coupling between effective intuitive decision making and extensive domain knowledge suggests that the processes driving intuition may be improved through training. Moreover, because the type of knowledge that underlies effective intuitive decision making emphasizes an understanding of context, environment, and how relevant cues within those contexts and environments are perceived, the type of training most likely to support effective intuitive decision making should be experiential and interactive, instead of simply didactic and classroom based. Immersive environments, like virtual environments or serious games, present one approach for providing the kind of experiential and interactive experiences needed for training intuition [9,10]. Yet, immersive environments must still be populated with a training methodology. Scenario Based Training (SBT), which emphasizes embedding training approaches within an evolving and dynamic scenario, provides a promising technique for training in environments which require complex interactions supported by immersive technologies, such as virtual environments and serious games [11]. The focus of this topic is on leveraging recent advances in quantifying the neurcognitive dynamics of intuition [2, 12] and coupling these with Scenario Based Training approaches, within an immersive environment to enhance effective intuitive decision making. The final product would include an interactive environment, incorporating, neurcognitive tools to provide metrics that the system could then use to demonstrate trainee progression towards improving their intuitive decision making processes.

  PHASE I: Define requirements for developing an immersive Scenario Based Training system for training intuitive decision making that is driven by neurocognitive and other types of performance measures. Identification of at least one military-relevant scenario, together with metrics definition is necessary. A final report will be generated, including system performance metrics and plans for Phase II. Metrics shall include both measures of effectiveness and measures of performance. Phase II plans should include key component technological milestones and plans for at least one operational test and evaluation. 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, and (3) test data on its performance collected in one or more operational settings using validated measures.

  PHASE III: This technology will have broad application in military as well as commercial settings. The military requires its warfighters to make increasingly complex and important decisions under conditions of uncertainty and stress. The proposed system will provide today’s warfighters with the ability to quickly hone their innate intuitive decision making skills for a broad range of contexts and tasks. In a similar way, commercial workforce personnel in disaster management, air traffic control, and emergency medicine/first responders, and other environments in which decisions must be made under conditions of uncertainty and stress, will benefit from this type of training.

  References:  [1] DoD Directive 3000.07 (December 1, 2008). [2] Luu, P., Geyer, A., Wheeler, T., Campbell, G., Tucker, D., & Cohn, J. (2010). The Neural Dynamics and Temporal Course of Intuitive Decisions. (Submitted) Public Library Of Science. [3] Volz, K. G., & von Cramon, D. Y. (2006). What neuroscience can tell about intuitive processes in the context of perceptual discovery. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 18(12), 2077-2087. [4] Soldier's intuition and situational awareness a lifesaver in Iraq.(UPDATE ON Operation Iraqi Freedom)Publication: Army Reserve Magazine Publication Date: 22-MAR-07Author: Coleman, Chris COPYRIGHT 2007 U.S. Army Reserve. [5] Hogarth, R.M (2001). Educating Intuition. University Of Chicago Press: Chicago, IL. [6] Winerman, L. (2005). A ‘sixth sense?’ Or merely mindful caution? Monitor on Psychology, 36(3):62. [7] Hodgkinson, G. P., Langan-Fox, J., & Sadler-Smith, E. (2008). Intuition: A fundamental bridging construct in the behavioral sciences. British Journal of Psychology, 99, 1-27. [8] Bowers, K.S., Regehr, G., Balthazard, C.G., & parker, K. (1990). Intuition in the context of discovery. Cognitive Psychology, 22, 72-110. [9]Lathan, C., Tracey, M., Sebrechts, M., Clawson, D., & Higgins, G. (2002). Using Virtual Environments as Training Simulators: Measuring Transfer In: Handbook of Virtual Environments: Design, Implementation, and Applications (Ed: Kay M. Stanney); Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002 p. 403-414. [10] Greitzer, F., Kuchar, O., Huston, K. (2007). Cognitive science implications for enhancing training effectiveness in a serious gaming context. Journal on Educational Resources in Computing 7(3). [11] Oser, R.L., Cannon-Bowers, J.A., Salas, E. & Dwyer, D. J. (1999). Enhancing human performance in technology-rich environments: Guidelines for scenario based training. In E. Salas (Ed.), Human Technology Interaction in Complex Systems. JAI Press, Vol. 9 p. 175-202. [12] Volz, K. G., Rubsamen, R., & von Cramon, D. Y. (2008). Cortical regions activated by the subjective sense of perceptual coherence of environmental sounds: a proposal for a neuroscience of intuition. Cognitive, Affective & Behavioral Neuroscience, 8(3): 318-328.

Keywords:  Intuition, Scenario Based Training, Neurocognitive, Decision Making, Virtual Environment

Questions and Answers:
Q: Can you elaborate on what you mean by neurocognitive measures? Is the intent of this topic to electrically measure brain activity or physical responses?
A: We are primarily interested in the measurement capabilities as delineated by Luu et al. 2010 (second reference in the Topic description). Essentially, we are looking at Neuro-imaging and we are open to any other Phsyiological measures that will help us to understand the intuitive construct underlying decision-making in scenario based training.

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