NATURALISTIC DECISION MAKING, EXPERTISE, AND HOMELAND SECURITY

EDUARDO SALAS AND MICHAEL A. ROSEN

Department of Psychology, Institute for Simulation and Training, University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida

1 INTRODUCTION

Homeland Security (HS) is a “people business”. It is fundamentally about the interaction of people with other people and understanding the intent of other people. It is about psychology, communication, deception, recognition, coordination, teamwork, situation assessment, and decision making. This is completely evident on the frontlines of HS where police officers, transportation security administration (TSA) agents, and border patrol agents come face to face with possible threats to security. However, it is equally the case in complex intelligence analysis where agents may be working behind several layers of sophisticated technology. No matter how elaborate a system of information collection, analysis, and representation may be, as long as there remains a human in the loop, the expertise of that human will play a role in HS. The decision-making effectiveness of people from the frontline law enforcers to intelligence analysts will impact these national goals. Therefore, understanding how people perceive, integrate, process, disseminate, communicate, and execute decision making in these types of complex environments is of critical importance. This knowledge can be used to train better decision makers and to design systems that support the way experts make decisions ...

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