Cognitive Engineering:Cognitive Engineering is critically important in today’s society.  Tasks are becoming increasingly complex. Team interactions are often highly distributed with individual team members commonly spanning the globe.  Humans and machines constantly interact.  While this network-centric, socio-technical, environments provides tremendous improvements in society, there are lurking problems.  First, these systems are becoming so complex that effective design and implementation is becoming more difficult.  Training is also becoming more and more expensive as complex systems are rarely designed with training in mind.  In the military, the training costs associated with the life cycle of a weapons system is often an order of magnitude higher than the hardware costs of the entire system.  And most important, these systems can become so complex and distributed that oversight and monitoring is falling behind.  Critical infrastructure systems such as nuclear energy, power distribution, air traffic control, and homeland security may be becoming more and more susceptible to hidden flaws in system design, operation, and training.

The goal of cognitive engineering is to better design these system with the human in mind.  Cognitive engineering is also striving to develop better tools for real–time human performance assessment, monitoring, and intervention.  A properly designed complex system benefits society in many ways: optimal systems mean higher system effectiveness, the safety and reliability of these systems is improved,  and training costs are reduced.

Human Factors:  The designing of machines, systems, operations, and methodologies to accommodate the limits of and to maximize the strengths of a human user.  Specifically, the study of how humans accomplish tasks in the context of human-machine systems and the observation of how variables (behavioral and non-behavioral) affect that accomplishment. 

Team:  Two or more people that interact dynamically, interdependently, and adaptively toward a common and valued goal/object/mission, who have each been assigned specific roles or functions to perform, and who have a limited life-span of membership. 

Team Cognition:  The collaborative cognitive processes such as coordination and communication, planning, decision making, and situation assessment that teams exhibit when accomplishing a task.

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This page was last updated on 7/11/2007