New Book Features Cognitive Biases Work of ARA Scientist


Springer, a leading publisher of books on technical and scientific topics, has published Cognitive Biases in Visualizations with a chapter by Donald Kretz, a principal scientist at Applied Research Associates, Inc. (ARA).

Visual analytics is the science of analytical reasoning that combines visualization, human factors, and data analysis to support well-informed decision making, even with complex data sets, by helping analysts identify trends, patterns, and relationships.

Featuring the latest visualization research, the book highlights the detrimental effect that cognitive biases can have on analysts’ decision making, and explores the prospect that visual analytics can counter some of the more common – and potentially costly – cognitive errors.

Kretz’s chapter, titled “Experimentally Evaluating Bias-Reducing Visual Analytics Techniques in Intelligence Analysis," explores the intelligence analysis process and history of cognitive bias mitigation in the Intelligence Community (IC). Errors in judgment in the national security domain can have disastrous consequences, and while studies have identified cognitive biases as a major cause of analytic errors, there remains a need for experimentally-validated debiasing techniques that can be incorporated into analytic tradecraft, according to Kretz.

“This chapter provides a handy guide for engineers and others who have not studied experimental design and statistical methods to apply scientific rigor to testing anticipated performance improvements. Furthermore, the approaches discussed are useful for evaluating all types of tools and software - not just visualizations - in realistic work environments.” - Donald Kretz, ARA principal scientist

Kretz has a PhD in cognition and neuroscience and has been recognized for his expertise and research in intelligence and national security.

Cognitive Biases in Visualizations is the culmination of research presented at the Dealing with Cognitive Biases in Visualizations (DECISIVe) workshop, part of the international IEEE VIS conference, held in Paris, France in 2015. VIS is a forum for advances in scientific and information visualization for academia, government, and industry.

The book is available on the Springer website at:

About ARA
ARA was founded in 1979 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to solve problems of national importance by providing science and engineering research. ARA delivers scientific solutions for national defense, homeland security, aerospace, healthcare, transportation, and manufacturing. With 1,200 Employee Owners at locations in the U.S. and Canada, ARA offers a broad range of technical expertise in defense technologies, civil engineering, computer software and simulation, systems analysis, biomedical engineering, environmental technologies, and blast testing and measurement.