Basic cognitive training (1) 'Cognitive Skill Analysis'


In my specialty, Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM), there are two major research purposes. Let me review the purposes once again.

The primary purpose of our research is to investigate how experts make on-the-spot judgments and decisions under life-threatening, stressful, and uncertain conditions. We NDM researchers (often called 'the NDMers') are very interested in their decision-making styles. Gary Klein and his peers have showed the fact that in many experts in various fields depend on intuition when they face tough challenges.

Klein and other NDMers have conducted cognitive interview with the experts to reveal the mechanism of their judgment- and decision-making. This unique interview is also called 'Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA)'.The essence of CTA is to clarify the critical factors that lead the experts to their decisions.

The second purpose is to provide cognitive training methods to build the trainee's intuition. The most common questions the NDMers are asked very often is 'How can we strengthen our intuition?' People usually understand intuition plays an significant role in problem solving, strategic thinking, and creativity. Therefore, many business executives in the Western world are keen to learn how they can build intuition for running business.

As a matter of fact, Gary Klein and other NDMers have already developed some useful cognitive training methods such as PreMortem, ProMortem, ShadowBox (©), etc. These methods are based on our findings of basic research questions: 'How do the experts make their tough decision' and 'What is intuition?'. There are also research data that such cognitive training improved the trainees' performance.

In Japan, as a only NDMer, I conduct my own research on cognitive training that would enable practitioners in any field and specialty. My research is somehow different from other NDMers in the US and Europe in a point that I especially focus on 'basic' cognitive skills such as memory, understanding, spacial recognition, analytical and logical thinking, reasoning, etc.

The reason is any novices and beginners cannot suddenly build intuition. It's true that intuition is a critical cognitive skill for the expert's level-decision making, but other cognitive skills would probably affect intuitive decision making and outcomes.

Also importantly, different fields need different abilities and cognitive skills. For instance, professional succor players can keep running on the pitch for more than 90 minutes. Sometimes, they can make a dash as well. While leg strength is vital for dribbling, making a pass and shooting a goal, toughness of upper body is necessary. Some players may hit you with elbows and shoulders. However, the succor players don't have to make their bodies like weight lifters.

I do define this analysis of what kind of skills are necessary for the task as 'Cognitive Skill Analysis (CSA)'. CSA is the first step is to know the competence of the practitioners and their nature of tasks. After clarifying each of the skills, the next thing the NDMers must do is how they can train each of the practitioners' skills efficiently and effectively.

(To be continued...)

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