Over the past 25 years, the construct of situation awareness (SA), or the perception and interpretation of what is happening around you, has been a catalyst for new advances in the human factors/ergonomics field, particularly in the areas of information display, automation, and training.
But recent advances also raise new questions, such as these: To what extent is SA about "awareness in the head" versus "awareness of where to look around you"? How is the process of maintaining SA affected by workload? Is it possible to have high-level SA about, for example, the progress of the mission while also being fuzzy on some of the immediate details? And what does a worker need to be aware of, anyway?
The March special issue of the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making features reflections and commentaries from highly regarded authors on these questions. Articles presented in this special issue include the following:
- "Situation Awareness Misconceptions and Misunderstandings," Mica R. Endsley
"A Situated Approach to the Understanding of Dynamic Situations," Dan Chiappe, Thomas Z. Strybel, and Kim-Phuong L. Vu
"Finding Common Ground: Situation Awareness and Cognitive Work Analysis," Dev Minotra and Catherine M. Burns
"Origins of Situation Awareness: Cautionary Tales from the History of Concepts of Attention," Robert Hoffman
"Situation Awareness: Its Applications and Its Fuzzy Dichotomies," Christopher D. Wickens
"I am pleased that this issue of JCEDM continues the tradition and updates the community on the current state of the art," said Editor-in-Chief Amy Pritchett. "The discussions range from the theoretical to the very practical, and they all contribute diverse perspectives on a topic that remains central to many complex work domains today. I hope this special issue provides an intriguing, comprehensive discussion of the key points our community faces at this time."
The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is the world's largest scientific association for human factors/ergonomics professionals, with more than 4,800 members globally. HFES members include psychologists and other scientists, designers, and engineers, all of whom have a common interest in designing systems and equipment to be safe and effective for the people who operate and maintain them. "Human Factors and Ergonomics: People-Friendly Design Through Science and Engineering"
Save the date for the 2015 International Annual Meeting, to be held October 26-30 in Los Angeles.