Opportunity at U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL)
Network Science: Social Networks and Cognitive Factors
MD, FL, and AL-Human Research & Engineering Directorate, Human Research and Engineering Directorate
||Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 210055425
Communication and information technology has transformed military capabilities to engage in network-centric operations. To an unprecedented degree, Soldiers collaborate in distributed networks across areas of operations often using specialized information systems and communication platforms to manage the imperative to collect and analyze intelligence, secure a populace, deliver supplies, and wage war. Our interdisciplinary approach leverages convergent methodologies to include experimental psychology (experimental design), cognitive science (modeling), human factors (usability, work domain analysis), and network science (social network analysis). The emerging interdisciplinary field of network science is of particular interest to our research efforts to address a preeminent challenge posed by the sheer complexity of human-in-the-loop networks and may serve to guide the systematic convergence of technology, information, and people. The objective of our research is to understand the effects that networked systems have on human cognition and team dynamics, and to develop models, theories, and analytical approaches to examine cognitive processes, information properties, and to identify key network dynamics across the social-cognitive-technological levels. Networked systems do not necessarily take into account the processing capabilities and limitations of the human brain. Cognitive performance—evidenced by effective distributed collaboration and decision making— may or may not be well-supported by our networks and Soldier technologies. It is imperative that we understand what aspects of network operations cause an undue cognitive burden to the command staff and dismounted Soldiers who collaborate with and pull information from media such as radios, text messages, emails, battle command systems, sensors, and ground and air unmanned assets. The objective is to develop decision aids to help integrate information management for users who especially are required to rapidly and efficiently process information from sources at multiple levels. A better understanding is required of system usage on communication flow, information transfer, cognitive workload, situational awareness, expertise, individual differences, and their effects on performance. This knowledge is instrumental to the development of battle command decision support tools that improve information relevance (data aggregation), and team collaboration and synchronization (alert/aiding capabilities). This work should ultimately result in networked information systems well-aligned to the needs of the warfighter by matching system requirements to Soldier cognition and collaborations through an enhanced understanding of human-system team interactions.
Network science; Social networks; Cognitive psychology; Modeling; Analysis; Information science; Human factors; Cognitive systems engineering; Statistics;
Open to U.S. citizens, permanent residents and non-U.S. citizens
Open to Postdoctoral applicants