Information to Systematically Enhance Intuitive Decision-Making (iSEE)

The iSEE initiative researched and developed the critical Augmented Cognition (AugCog) environment extensions needed to improve, via training, the cognitive readiness of military personnel in the high stress, sensorially overwhelming environments that characterize today’s full-spectrum warfare.

The new reality of full-spectrum warfare calls for ordinary soldiers to possess skill sets that extend beyond conventional combat, and, in response, our armed services have recently recognized the importance of formalizing the standards, terms, and instructional foundations associated with “cognitive readiness.”  Cognitive readiness describes the mental preparation an individual must establish and sustain to perform effectively in the complex and unpredictable environment of modern military operations.  Effective cognitive readiness ultimately manifests itself as successful pattern recognition, creative adaptability, and intuitive decision making in the field.

In full-spectrum warfare, situations of information overload often arise.  When the demand for speed or attention exceeds human ability, then technology can be used to compensate.  Recent studies have shown the degraded performance caused by information overload:  when soldiers operated a tank while monitoring remote video feeds they frequently failed to see nearby targets.  Augmented Cognition (AugCog) is one of the technologies that can enhance human performance under information overload and stress.  AugCog investigates computational methods, technologies, and non-invasive neurophysiological tools to adapt computational systems to the changing cognitive state of human operators and to improve task performance.

The iSEE initiative researched and developed the critical AugCog environment extensions needed to dramatically improve the effectiveness of these environments in military decision maker training.  While current AugCog methods, tools, and environments do a reasonable job of capturing physiological data and fusing these signals to measure the cognitive state and task capability of the monitored subjects being, they lack the application methods, training aids, and tools needed to systematically enhance intuitive decision making capabilities.  In the iSEE initiative, KBSI developed and deployed advanced decision maker training methods and tools to catalog the cues and intuitions that are of primary importance to today’s critical training scenarios, design focused training scenarios tuned to AugCog goals, and provide for dynamic interaction and training scenario adaptation to reflect participant mental state and training needs.

Our work on the iSEE initiative leveraged existing KBSI research in the areas of knowledge capture, analysis, training, and evaluation.  The results of two KBSI Phase II SBIR projects provided additional momentum for this effort:  SuperCision™ (which developed methods and tools to baseline and improve the quality of military decision makers) and the Intelligent Scenario Management Framework (ISMF) (which developed a Bayesian net-based training scenario generation capability for military aviators).