Cognitive tasks in information analysis: Use of event dwell time to characterize component activities

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Technology-based enhancement of information analysis requires a detailed understanding of the cognitive tasks involved in the process. The information search and report production tasks of the information analysis process were investigated through evaluation of time-stamped workstation data gathered with custom software. Model tasks simulated the search and production activities, and a sample of actual analyst data were also evaluated. Task event durations were calculated on the basis of millisecond-level time stamps, and distributions were plotted for analysis. The data indicate that task event time shows a cyclic pattern of variation, with shorter event durations (< 2 sec) reflecting information search ... continued below

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Sanquist, Thomas F.; Greitzer, Frank L.; Slavich, Antoinette L.; Littlefield, Rik J.; Littlefield, Janis S. & Cowley, Paula J. September 28, 2004.

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Technology-based enhancement of information analysis requires a detailed understanding of the cognitive tasks involved in the process. The information search and report production tasks of the information analysis process were investigated through evaluation of time-stamped workstation data gathered with custom software. Model tasks simulated the search and production activities, and a sample of actual analyst data were also evaluated. Task event durations were calculated on the basis of millisecond-level time stamps, and distributions were plotted for analysis. The data indicate that task event time shows a cyclic pattern of variation, with shorter event durations (< 2 sec) reflecting information search and filtering, and longer event durations (> 10 sec) reflecting information evaluation. Application of cognitive principles to the interpretation of task event time data provides a basis for developing “cognitive signatures” of complex activities, and can facilitate the development of technology aids for information intensive tasks.

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  • HFES 2004. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society 48th Annual Meeting : September 20-24, 2004, New Orleans, Louisiana,
  • Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 2004,Santa Monica,,United States.

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  • Report No.: PNWD-SA-6532
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 882587
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc874907

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  • September 28, 2004

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  • Sept. 21, 2016, 2:29 a.m.

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  • Oct. 26, 2016, 1:17 p.m.

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Sanquist, Thomas F.; Greitzer, Frank L.; Slavich, Antoinette L.; Littlefield, Rik J.; Littlefield, Janis S. & Cowley, Paula J. Cognitive tasks in information analysis: Use of event dwell time to characterize component activities, article, September 28, 2004; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc874907/: accessed January 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.