Decision-Making Schemas in Rapidly Changing Situations

Sandra P. Marshall
San Diego State University

Project Overview

This research effort was carried out in two phases. The first phase spanned 1993-1997. The primary objective was to investigate the schemas used by experts in tactical decision making. The research effort focused on detailed cognitive analyses of the knowledge shown by the experts together with explicit computer modeling of their performance as they utilized this knowledge. The project was begun in collaboration with investigators working on the TADMUS program at NRaD in San Diego (now SPAWARSYSCEN) and expanded to a collaboration with the NAWCTSD team at Orlando.

A second objective was added to the project with the availability of state-of-the-art eye-tracking equipment. In 1995, two eye-tracking systems were acquired under a separate DOD award through the Defense University Research Initiative Program (Grant No. N00014-95-1-1091). These systems were used here to evaluate the performance of officers as they interacted with several versions of the TADMUS decision support system (DSS).

The techniques developed in the initial phase of funding were used in the large collaboration study by SPAWARSYSCEN and NAWCTSD researchers at the Surface Warfare Officers School in Newport, RI, under the second phase of funding. This phase spanned 1998-2000. During this time, the model was applied to two aspects of tactical decision making: verbal communication among team members and access of information from the prototype display.