The National Academies Logo
Research Associateship Programs
Fellowships Office
Policy and Global Affairs

Participating Agencies - AFRL

  Sign InOpen Printer View

Opportunity at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL)

Perceptual & Cognitive Factors in Real-Life Information Seeking: Theories, Models, & Methods


Airman Systems Directorate, RHX/Human Centered ISR Division

RO# Location
13.15.13.B0077 Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433


Name E-mail Phone
Warren, Richard 937.469.2223


People actively seek information. They may want the information just out of curiosity and for entertainment (e.g., watching TV), or to immediately act on it (e.g., checking traffic to change lanes), or for long term planning and decision making (e.g., gathering data on used cars) The search may be basically sensorial (sniffing an aroma, visually scanning a crime scene, listening for a sound in the night), or social (asking for directions), or by reading books and on-line internet pages, or by using sophisticated technology. Searches may be efficient or inefficient, successful or unsuccessful, or truly informative or riddled with errors and wrong conclusions. Search errors can be due to misperception or misinterpretation (false alarms) or misses (failure to find what is there).

Many factors can influence the search itself and its success or failure such as attention, prior knowledge, training, biases, cultural factors, social factors (individual versus team search), time, resources, and technology. Two people may view the same event but attend to different information, or may react differently to the same information.

Since curiosity and search behavior is so central to humans, we need to better understand basic perceptual, cognitive, and affective factors in information seeking. By understanding, we do not mean a collection of anecdotes and rules of thumb. Rather we seek an ecologically-relevant general theory based on real-world empirical facts and expressed in mathematical and computational models. We need metrics for quantifying available information and for assessing search performance.

Ultimately, we seek methods to augment humans searching for information and to increase performance in real-life ecologically-valid situations.


Information seeking; Information Search; Ecological perception; Cognition, Mathematical models; Cultrual effects; Research methods;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$76,542.00 $4,000.00

$3,000 Supplement for Doctorates in Engineering & Computer Science

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

Copyright © 2019. National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.Terms of Use and Privacy Policy