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Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making

Departmental research in this area emphasizes models, processes, and characteristics of human decision making; factors that affect decision making; technologies for assisting, modifying, or supplementing human decision making; and training strategies for assisting or influencing decision making.

Research Groups

Applied Cognition & Expertise (ACE) Lab

The ACE Lab, directed by Associate Professor Paul Ward, specializes in research on successful, skilled, and expert performance in complex and stressful environments. Researchers in the ACE lab employ cognitive-task analysis and process-tracing measures (e.g., think-aloud protocols and eye-movement recording) to examine skill-based differences in anticipation, situation assessment, and decision-making, especially in psychomotor domains.

Research is primarily concerned with

  • increasing our understanding of the cognitive system that supports skilled performance and its acquisition; and
  • improving human performance and perceptual-cognitive skills through training and technological design.

Decision Science and Decision Engineering (DeSciDE) Lab

The Decision Science and Decision Engineering Laboratory (DeSciDE), directed by Assistant Professor Edward Cokely, specializes in the psychology of judgment and decision making, with emphasis on individual differences in risky and ethical choices (e.g., risk literacy, numeracy, and personality) and decision-support technologies (e.g., computerized testing, risk communication, adaptive training systems, and usability).

Cognitive Modeling and Experimentation Lab (CME)

Researchers in the Cognitive Modeling and Experimentation Lab study applied and basic problems using both empirical methods (lab and field studies) and computational modeling. Our research specializes in how knowledge is formed and represented by novices and experts in order to accomplish their goals. Specific domains of research include crossword puzzle experts, spatial memory, and cultural knowledge.

Human Factors and Systems Modeling Lab

Research in the Human Factors and Systems Modeling Lab (HFSM) is focused on employing system simulations to understand how people use engineering systems. This includes research in driving, where both roadway design and in-vehicle design are studied, and research in service and management systems, where both service providers and recipients can be studied.

FacultyAreas of Interest
Judgment and Decision Making; Abilities, Expertise, and Individual Differences; Risk Literacy, Numeracy, and Risk Communication; Psychometrics and Quantitative Psychology; Industrial - Organizational Psychology
Computational Modeling; Recognitional Decision Making; Perceptual and Memory Processes; Representations of Cultural Knowledge
Planning and decision making in infrastructure system management; Develop models and implements simulations that can aid decision makers assess design alternatives and explore what-if scenarios
Study of Expertise; Perceptual-Cognitive Skills; Training; Skill Acquisition; Applied Cognition; Cognitive Engineering; Human Factors; Sports Science