Cognitive Systems - Related Papers

Learning and retention. Frank E. Ritter, Gordon Baxter, Jong W. Kim, and Sowmyalatha Srinivasmurthy.

Learning, the rate it occurs, and the stages learning goes through are important aspects of human behavior and should inform design more often. Learning provides performance improvements, sometimes drastic improvement with practice. This improvement can make designs that are too slow on first use to become more usable and remove errors in performance. The retention curve is similar, in that drastic skill loss is also possible and more dangerous. It too must inform design more often.

Ritter, F.E., Baxter, G., Kim, J.W., & Srinivasmurthy, S. (2010). Learning and Retention. Submitted for The Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Engineering.

When mental models go wrong. Co-occurrences in dynamic, critical systems. - Denis Besnard, David Greathead & Gordon Baxter

This paper highlights a psychological phenomenon affecting the accuracy of mental models. It occurs when two consecutive events happen as expected by an operator. Typically, such a situation reinforces the confidence in one’s mental model. However, consecutive events can happen as a random co-occurrence, for reasons that actually differ from the ones believed by the operator. Nonetheless, because of the consistency between the environmental data and the operator’s expectations, one event can be taken to be the cause of the other. When this false belief happens, the mental model is erroneously assumed to be valid. We discuss this phenomenon and its potential disastrous consequences using the example of a real commercial air crash. We finally address some implications for systems’ design and support tools.

Besnard, D., Greathead, D. and Baxter, G.D. (2004). When mental models go wrong: co-occurrences in dynamic, critical systems. In Proceedings of Int. J. Hum.-Comput. Stud. 117-128.

Cognitive Mismatches in the Cockpit: Will They Ever Be a Thing of the Past?
- Gordon Baxter, Denis Besnard and Captain Dominic Riley

Changes in aviation over the last thirty years have dramatically affected the way that flight crews fly aircraft. The implementation and evolution of the glass cockpit, however, has happened in an almost ad hoc fashion, meaning that it does not always properly support the flight crew in carrying out their tasks. In such situations, the crews’ mental model of what is happening does not always match the real state of affairs. In other words there is a cognitive mismatch. An initial taxonomy of cognitive mismatches is defined, and the problem illustrated using an example from an aviation accident. Consideration is then given to how cognitive mismatches can be managed. A call is made for the development of an integrated cockpit architecture that takes better account of human capabilities and allows for new developments to be added to the cockpit in a more seamless manner.

Baxter, G.D., Besnard, D., and Riley, Capt. D. (2007). Cognitive mismatches in the cockpit: Will they ever be a thing of the past? Applied Ergonomics., 38, 4, 417-423.