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1 Cognition of spatial situations Moving through a populated space is a complex task –Eg. Walking in a crowd –Combines aspects of perception, memory, expectations,

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Presentation on theme: "1 Cognition of spatial situations Moving through a populated space is a complex task –Eg. Walking in a crowd –Combines aspects of perception, memory, expectations,"— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Cognition of spatial situations Moving through a populated space is a complex task –Eg. Walking in a crowd –Combines aspects of perception, memory, expectations, etc. Includes notions of mental models –Your choices depend on your understanding of the space –Your understanding of other actors in the space is an issue Eg. Is it safe to cross the road yet? –Can I move across it? –Are there cars coming? How fast are they moving? –How safe does it seem?

2 2 History of the problem Pilots found it very hard “After an uneventful patrol which lasted several hours, I landed and was amazed to discover from my squadron mates that we had been under attack by several enemy machines. At one stage, I had apparently been fired at. During the entire event, I had not been aware of any other aeroplane in the sky” British pilot’s report, 1916 After World War 2, analysis of air combat showed cognitive ability played a large role in flying ability –80% of all planes were shot down by 15% of pilots –A large majority of ‘combat aces’ survived the war –Flying skill, gunnery were not predictors of combat success

3 3 The ‘air picture’ The RAF identified a skill which predicted success –Ability to form an ‘air picture’ –Understanding of where planes were in relation to self, ability to predict what the situation would develop into –The USAF comes to a similar conclusion – situational awareness (‘the bubble’) Situational awareness widely studied widely by aviation psychologists –Lack of it identified as a major source of air accidents –Eg. Air-to-air collisions, CFIT

4 4 Situational awareness “Situational Awareness is the ability to identify, process, and comprehend the critical elements of information about what is happening to the team with regards to the mission. More simply, it’s knowing what is going on around you.” USCG manual Very similar to a mental model –Structure for interpreting environmental information –Expectations/Biases important Some important differences from mental models –Predicting complex systems (not flying balls!) –Changes continually (with situations) –Many information sources affect it (sensory & abstract)

5 5 Three levels of cognition in SA Endsley: SA operates on three levels of cognition simultaneously Level 1: Perception from ‘disjoint’ elements in the environment –Lights, traffic, weather, voices Level 2: The ‘mental picture’ of the environment –Assimilation of level 1 elements into coherent complex structures Level 3: Ability to predict future states in level 1 elements –Allows planning of future actions

6 6 Piloting errors due to low SA From Endsley & Garland, 2000

7 7 Losing the bubble Losing situational awareness is associated with –Confusion (‘gut feeling’) –Not following established procedures –Unresolved discrepancies in information –Ambiguities –Fixating on small aspects of the situation Notice that situational awareness is related to working memory –Context for processing –Enhances relevant stimuli processing –Associated with ‘wide attention’

8 8 Example: situational awareness in your car Windsreen: view of world to the front Displays: car status and motion state Mirrors: view of world rear/sides Radio: Traffic reports Controls: State of road and of control linkage PLUS SOUNDS: engine state, road surface, traffic

9 9 Example: situational awareness in your car The information alone is not enough –Integration is essential (cues must match) Expectation is essential –Strong priming for attention (irrelevant stimuli are discounted) Many forms of information can be combined –Sensory information (eyes, ears) –Speech (passengers, radio) –Abstract (maps, directions, street signs)

10 10 Accuracy of models The more accurate the model is, the more SA you will have –SA leads to comprehension, then prediction –Predictions will be more useful SA can be improved with experience or factual knowledge –Unlike mental models! –The more information, the closer the predictions will be to reality Eg: models of the accelerator pedal –Novice: The more your press the faster it goes –Expert: The more you press the more engine RPM you get, which interacts with the gearbox to determine the amount of wheel torque you get, which interacts with road conditions to determine how fast you go

11 11 Achieving SA Begins with broad expectations of the situation –Broad scan of the environment –Experience of similar previous experiences Gradual integration of information –Expectations of specific situation formed SA achieved –Expectations determine which further information is to be processed

12 12 SA example: flying in a storm Weather briefing: Storms around the airport –Calls to mind rules/dangers for the situation –Recalls previous experiences –Models become active Flight begins: more information –Weather radar, radio reports from others flying, traffic control warnings –Specific expectations formed SA achieved –Knows strength of storm, location of winds, clear areas, severity, etc –Irrelevant information (others asking for landing permission) ignored

13 13 Losing SA SA can be reduced/lost by various means –Interference/interruption –Reduced working memory –Narrowed attention Interference activates irrelevant models –Eg. Unrelated conversation Reduced working memory cannot sustain SA –Eg. Information overload, difficult task Narrowed attention prevent information assimilation –Eg. Anxiety, ‘Tunnel vision’ on a stimulus

14 14 Example: Radio communication and SA Flying involves a lot of talking –Ground controller –Other aircraft –A pilot can listen to many conversations at once Information heard affects SA –Information load issue (how much can be ignored) –Content issue (relevant/irrelevant) Radios are not passive –Receive information, but can also ask for it Individual difference –Convert speech into spatial information –Skill varies from pilot to pilot

15 15 Distractors and SA Determining what is an SA distractor is complex –Relevance/content –Mode of presentation –Amount of attention required to process Relevant content is less likely to be a distractor Information presented to the ‘dominant mode’ will distract less Information which requires less working memory to process will distract less

16 16 Why driving and talking on the phone is dangerous Talking while driving is dangerous –4x as likely to have an accident –In the USA, 500 000 drivers are now talking/driving! You don’t have both hands on the wheel –But the more engrossing the conversation, the longer the reaction time! –Hands free kits are not the solution! The cell phone is a bad SA distractor –Unrelated information –Auditory information in a mostly visual task –Speech requires a fair amount of attention to process

17 17 Improving SA Two major approaches –Improve the information/presentation presented (‘glass cockpit’) –Train the subject to process information First approach is more widespread –More reliable –Digital technology has made it simple Second approach is becoming more popular –Computers are expensive, esp. for car industry, private pilots

18 18 Example: TCAS Some models provide instructions on how to avoid collision (!)

19 19 Presenting information The HUD requires less processing (overlayed), so should lead to higher SA EFIS HUD

20 20 Training to improve SA US military spend a lot of money doing this –Study previous errors (factual knowledge) –Teach limits of human cognition –Task specific training (improves factual knowledge) –Repetition of simulated exercises (allows natural development of mental models by experience) Simulators provide ‘knowledge transfer’ –Limited simulation can be quite helpful –Reduces danger in early stages

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