Cognitive tasks in information analysis: Use of event dwell time to characterize component activities Page: 2 of 7
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Paper presented at the HFES 2004 Annual Conference
Cognitive Tasks in Intelligence Analysis: Use of
Event Dwell Time to Characterize Component
Thomas F. Sanquist, Frank L. Greitzer, Antoinette Slavich,
Rik Littlefield, Janis Littlefield, and Paula Cowley
Battelle Pacific Northwest Division
Technology-based enhancement of intelligence analysis requires a detailed understanding of the
cognitive tasks involved in the process. The information search and report production tasks of
the intelligence 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 intelligence 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.
P N WD-SA-6532
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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/m1/2/: accessed April 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.