Fin AVIA 400 Final Exam Spring 2014

Fin AVIA 400 Final Exam Spring 2014

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Fin AVIA 400 Final Exam Spring 2014



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AVIA 400 Lesson 4 Handout for discussion preparation


Chapter 7 – Information Processing in Aviation


Higher-Level Processing in Aviation


1.         Decision Making

  • Rule based behavior
    • routine actions
    • failure occurs due to forgetting, perhaps during high WL or distractions
  • Risky decision making
    • Falls into category of knowledge-based behavior
    • Two or more plausible choices in the context
    • Environment must be considered in making choice
    • Outcome of either choice cannot be predicted with certainty
    • Certain outcomes may result in harmful consequences
    • Ex: continue or turn back in the face of weather
      • #1 cause of fatal accidents in GA VFR pilots
  • Information processing operations must be proceeded by 2 prior information processing operations:
    • Situation assessment (or diagnosis) is necessary to make the best choice
    • Cue processing is required to provide an accurate situation assessment
      • Evidence is sought, attended and perceived
      • Evidence could come from multiple sources
    • Linkage is found in the diagnostic value of a cue
      • Get a cue, value the cue, make an assessment
      • Repeat until situation over
  • Naturalistic decision making
    • Recognition primed decision – expert does not need separate cues to make situation assessment.  Instead, experience dictates what works best.
    • Mental simulation – mental simulation of outcomes based on past experience.  Therefore, all possible choices need not be considered. 
      • Mental simulation in preflight planning adds in decision making
      • “Skilled pilots are able to avoid situations that require skilled piloting”
  • Heuristics and biases
    • Less-than-optimal decision making – nonexperts or new problems
    • Decision heuristics
      • Mental shortcuts often used by experts when time or cognitive resources are in short supply
      • Usually provides a good outcome
      • May be instances in which the resulting decision leads to a wrong outcome
    • Decision biases
      • Systematic ways in which decision strategies may ignore features leading to the best decision
      • salient bias is one that dominates cue selection (loud, bright, in the forward view)
      • Anchoring heuristic and confirmation bias often go hand in hand to degrade accurate assessment
        • Anchoring heuristic applies when cues come sequentially over time to affirm previous cues
        • the initial cue becomes the anchor as long as subsequent cues are consistent with the initial cue
        • anchoring can feed back into confirmation bias – once an initial assessment is made, people tend to look for cues to affirm the initial assessment rather than seek cues that would prove it wrong
        • elimination by aspects heuristic – due to time constraints, avoid considering all options, and only consider those most likely to be best
        • framing bias applies when faced with two negative or unpleasant choices
          • sure loss vs. risky loss
          • tendency is to seek the risky alternative even when the sure loss is a less risky event
          • when framed in the positive, the tendency is to reverse the decision, and to choose the sure thing (p. 188)
        • sunk cost bias – extension of framing bias.  If much has been invested into the risky endeavor, the tendency will be to stick with it rather than take the sure loss; pilot continuing into bad weather rather than turning back.


2.         Complex Processing in Context

  • human rationality is bounded – Herbert Simon
    • they consider only a subset of the information
    • they tend to seek satisfactory, rather than optimal solutions
    • In other words, they tend to use heuristics (take short cuts), rather than carrying out computationally difficult processes associated with normal modes of rationality
    • Experience allows one to jump steps and states of knowledge
    • Human information processing tends to be opportunistic and highly influenced by experience and context; human cognition is situated
    • Experts develop associations that allow them to recognize situations, rather than analytically interpreting the situation and evaluating options as would be required by novices who haven’t yet learned shortcuts
    • With automated systems, the role of the operator has shifted from manual controller to supervisory controller whose primary function is to make high-level or risky decisions and solve problems


Resources for Meeting the Information Processing Challenges in Aviation


  1. 1.     Attention
    1. Limits of attention to the environment
      1.                                                                i.      Selective attention – senses select parts of the environment for processing, while filtering others
      2.                                                              ii.      Selection is driven by both internal goals and external events (attention capture)
      3.                                                            iii.      Also driven by expectancy – looking where you expect to see a change
      4.                                                            iv.      Change blindness – nonsalient events that should be noticed because of their importance, but are not always noticed
      5.                                                              v.      Aviation alerts and alarms should be constructed to capture attention
  2. Divided attention to elements in the environment – four ways in which limits to attention can be overcome
    1.                                                                i.      Display integration
    2.                                                              ii.      Automaticity – instant recognition of a familiar image or sound (radio call)
    3.                                                            iii.      Peripheral and ambient vision
    4.                                                            iv.      Multiple resources – able to process sounds and visual cues at the same time
  3. Selective attention to tasks and goals
    1.                                                                i.      Brain cannot multi-task cognitive functions
    2.                                                              ii.      Interrupted tasks that are never resumed
  4. Successful divided attention between tasks and mental processes
    1.                                                                i.      Flying and communicating
    2.                                                              ii.      Walking, talking, seeing, and juggling
    3.                                                            iii.      Different processing areas in the brain – auditory and visual processing
    4.                                                            iv.      Limits of attention constrain pilots’ sampling of the environment, and multi-tasking ability
    5. 2.     Expertise
      1. Acquired through extensive deliberate practice
      2. Deliberate practice is intensive and involves self-monitoring and error correction with an intent to improve
      3. Expert-level performance must be actively maintained through continual deliberate practice
      4. Three stages of skill development
        1.                                                                i.      Acquisition of declarative knowledge—knowledge of facts and things
        2.                                                              ii.      Acquisition of procedural knowledge—knowledge of how to perform various tasks
        3.                                                            iii.      Refinement of production rules that specify action for specific actions
  5. Brain makes quantitative and qualitative changes in cortical activity as skill develops
    1.                                                                i.      As skill develops, the operator relies less on slower controlled processes
    2.                                                              ii.      Development of the cortical tissue through training and practice
    3.                                                            iii.      Expert’s organization of knowledge is different from the novice
      1. Expert – organized around principles not readily apparent on the surface
      2. Novice organized around literal objects and explicit events
    4.                                                            iv.      Experts have developed knowledge into long term memory and have devised retrieval cues for eventual access to the information
    5.                                                              v.      Experts are able to see meaningful patterns, make inferences from partial information, continuously update their perception of the current situation, and anticipate future conditions
  6. Duration of job tenure does not directly equate to expertise
    1.                                                                i.      Continual development is required
    2.                                                              ii.      Desire to improve
    3.                                                            iii.      Experts need to learn to apply their highly structured knowledge to strategically arrest the current situation and to reduce future workload


Emergent Processes—Mental Workload and Situation Awareness


  1. Mental Workload – the mental cost of performing the information processing required by the task performance
  2. Situation Awareness – the perception of the elements in the environment within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning, and the projection of their status in the near future
  3. Automation can reduce operator WL while reducing operator SA


AVIA 400 Final Exam Spring 2014NameUniversity AVIA 400 Final Exam Spring 2014Describe the meaning and application of human factors in aviation (Lesson 2).Human factors are critical in ensuring safe behaviors in aviation operations. Human cognitive factors comprise of knowledge of functions and ability to accurately interpret information and apply it in performing duties (Shappell & Wiegmann, 2002). Psychological factors refer to the state of the mind, such as absence or presence of stress. Stress affects concentration on the task because it can cause distractions and lead to loss of situational awareness and alertness. Physiological factors involve the body’s reaction to emergencies or life-threatening situations, such as by sweating or shaking (Helmreich, 2000). The body’s physiological reaction determines the level of composure and effectiveness of decision making. Composure helps avoid impulsive decisions, e.g. making a sharp turn, which may initiate a chain of other automated reactions and lead to lose of control of the aircraft. Psycho-motor elements refers to the ability to coordinate body movements (limbs and arms) with cognitive functions (mental decisions). Lack of coordination can lead to unintended and unsafe actions. In this regard, machine inputs, such as the timing and accuracy of data display are critical in determining how easily one can read the information and process it for effective decision making. In addition, good display is necessary to allow easy monitoring of different functions, which increases situational awareness, such as being aware of distance to destination, altitude, and environmental conditions outside the aircraft. Additionally, automation of functions, such as determining the right cruising altitude helps pilots detect changes. Describe how the Reason’s Swiss Cheese model and the Human Factors Analysis and Classification System (HFACS) are used to analyze human factors issues (Lesson 2).Reason’s Swiss Cheese model outlines four levels of human failure within an organization. They are:Organizational factorsUnsafe supervisionPreconditions for unsafe acts, andUnsafe acts. Organizational factors include cost cutting measures and ineffective reward policies, such as promotions. Cost cutting measures affect resource input into the organizations, such as hiring qualified staff/pilots (Shappell & Wiegmann, 2002). This creates a situation where there is lack of expertise to handle emergence situations and other incidents requiring high-level skills and experience. Inadequate promotion policies influences staff motivation and morale, such as when pilots/co-pilots with high flight hours are not rewarded with salary increase or promotion into senior positions. As a result, they perform their duties by barely fulfilling operation requirements and failing to acquire additional training. Unsafe supervision includes failure to implement effective training methods for senior managers and creatin...
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