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

Description: 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.
Date: September 28, 2004
Creator: Sanquist, Thomas F.; Greitzer, Frank L.; Slavich, Antoinette L.; Littlefield, Rik J.; Littlefield, Janis S. & Cowley, Paula J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department