Research Problem: How much information can ATC experts keep track of and manage at one time? How do they do it?
“All inquiry is value-laden” - Potts & Newstetter, 1997
Bias "I am the happiest man alive. I have that in me that can convert poverty into riches, adversity into prosperity, and I am more invulnerable than Achilles; fortune hath not one place to hit me." - Sir Thomas Browne, 1642
We have a "psychological immune system" that lets us feel truly happy even when things don’t go as planned. It is “a system of largely nonconscious cognitive processes that help them change their views of the world so they can feel better about the worlds in which they find themselves. Like Sir Thomas, you have this machine. Like Sir Thomas, you seem not to know it.” - Dan Gilbert at TED, 2006
All researchers have biases Our biases influence: How we set-up experiments How we interpret data Data on which we focus; data that we ignore How study participants respond to the experimental set-up How we interact with study participants
Bias via Reductionism When we simplify complex problems, we can lose important information. We can also change how the problem is understood.
Premature closure Making a decision without collecting all the relevant and available data We don’t know what we don’t know What holes exist in our ‘story’? What gaps exist in this ‘picture’? What did we miss?
Sunk-costs fallacy: The tendency to view something as valuable if we have put a lot of effort, time, (or pain) into it Framing effects: The way a problem is presented influences its assessment and the response We tend to want to believe a hypothesis is true if we’ve invested a lot of time in exploring it. (Captured by Leon Festinger’s 1957 Theory of Cognitive Dissonance.) We tend to want to believe a hypothesis is true if we’ve invested a lot of time in exploring it. (Captured by Leon Festinger’s 1957 Theory of Cognitive Dissonance.)
Selective perception Failure to perceive changes outside your hypothesis’ boundaries; information is discounted, misinterpreted, ignored, rejected, or overlooked because it is not consistent with hypothesis Seek information that does not support your ideas! "The facts are simple," says Charles K. Johnson, president of the International Flat Earth Research Society. "The earth is flat.” - Schadewald, 1980
Hindsight Bias ‘I knew it all along’ Events are judged as more foreseeable than was in fact the case An intelligence analyst may mis-recall the difficulty of detecting a certain change (“I missed it but I can see now it should have been easy for me to detect”) and assume that detecting the change will therefore be easy in similar future situations.
Cultural Bias Aka the Mirror-Imaging Bias Our tendency to project our own values onto others. “To see the options faced by foreign leaders as these leaders see them, one must understand their values and assumptions and even their misperceptions and misunderstandings.”
Satisficing Heuristic Accepting a hypothesis that seems ‘good enough’ without evaluating others Alan Newell attributed with identifying human tendency to “satisfice”, i.e., take short cuts in mental work
Reasoning by analogy Accepting a hypothesis in order to avoid a previous error or to duplicate a previous success “It worked the last time I shouted ‘wolf’…” –The boy who cried “wolf” without considering other options
Availability Bias Tendency to judge the likelihood of an event based on the ease with which it comes to mind Over-reliance on variables that have taken on extreme values Often combined with Base Rate Neglect Base Rate Neglect – Failure to consider the actual prevalence/rate or occurrence of something
Incrementalism Focusing on alternatives that differ in very limited ways without considering the need for a drastic change in perspective AKA Cognitive Tunneling
Anchoring Bias - The tendency to assign undue weight to the first evidence obtained Salience: Tendency to pay attention to information that stands out in the visual field over other information This can be a good thing if the salient information is the correct information to attend to