Capabilities | Applied Cognition

Applied Cognition

ARA uses behavioral psychology to develop decision-centered solutions for understanding the interactions of people with technology, products, situations, and other people. The combining of these cognitive capabilities with other ARA technical capabilities in the physical sciences enable ARA to bring a unique problem solving capability to our client's problems.

Our solutions enhance the performance of those confronted with judgments and decisions in situations marked by high stakes, time pressure, ambiguous or conflicting information, or rapidly changing situations.

We develop these solutions through understanding how decision-makers process personal experiences that they encounter within the context of their own environments.

Our staff is composed of individuals with backgrounds in psychology and human factors with interests in a range of related areas including decision making, cognitive science, memory processes, problem solving, cognitive systems engineering, human-computer interaction, and the nature of expertise.

Our methods span the breadth of cognitive/psychology methods with both quantitative and qualitative approaches. We have applied our methods to domains of expertise and developed solutions for them to include consumer decision making, operational command centers, weather forecasters, firefighters, critical care nurses and physicians, air traffic controllers, electronic warfare specialists, pilots, civil law mediators, FAA inspectors, systems analysts, software program debuggers, AWACS weapons directors, battle planners, intelligence analysts, military commanders, and submarine sonar operators.

ARA's work approaches applied cognition from the following perspectives:

  • Consumer decision making consumer and customer cognition
  • Information processing information assessment and knowledge management
  • Multi-person/group interaction collaborative work
  • Performance enhancement and training skills, performance, and expertise
  • System design cognitive system engineering
  • Technology development cognitive science


  • SD-SE-MB GSA OCA Support Program SD-SE-MB GSA OCA Support Program
    • Easy-to-use, efficient assessment software
    • Training and support
    • Ensure safety of people working inside the building
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  • GBS and SPAR StudyGBS and SPAR Study
    • Developed a more efficient methodology for determining optimal In-Line Inspection
    • Improved methodology runs the first optimal inspection after pipeline installation
    • Provides information about what repairs should be made
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  • Battle SenseBattle Sense
    • Create a methodology for uncovering and capturing sensemaking and automation requirements for system development
    • Provides tools to support the transformation of sensemaking requirements into system design requirements
    • Help prevent critical cognitive issues from being ignored throughout the software development process
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  • Cognitive Impact EvaluationCognitive Impact Evaluation
    • Allowed risk management throughout the development lifecycle
    • Provided effective feedback Is supportable with usable software tool
    • Evaluate the cognitive impact new technologies have on warfighters
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  • DD(X) Detail Design and IntegrationDD(X) Detail Design and Integration
    • Leads the data collection
    • Analysis efforts for the experiments with emphasis on real-time and post experiment data analysis
    • Provides real-time analysis tool is the Data Analysis Real Time System (DARTS)
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  • Multi Cell & Dismounted Command and ControlMulti Cell & Dismounted Command and Control
    • Designed to model multi-echelon, knowledge-based, combined arms command and control
    • Provide a visual display of both the extent and quality of the commanders use of intelligence sensors
    • Devised a valuable method for analyzing aspects of situational awareness (SA)
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  • Submarine Sensemaking: Understanding and Supporting the Cognitive Work of Submarine CommandersSubmarine Sensemaking: Understanding and Supporting the Cognitive Work of Submarine Commanders
    • Proposed six initial design directions to be implemented in decision support displays in the control room
    • Helped collect and analyze data
    • Expanded on cognitive analysis beyond Submarine Commanding Officers
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  • Crowd CulturesCrowd Cultures
    • Determine the nature and characteristics of Middle Eastern crowds
    • Identify the critical decisions that security force members make in crowd situations
    • Develop an approach for cultural training
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