NDM Research during the Pandemic Period in Japan


The COVID-19 pandmic has changed every aspect of our lives. In Japan, distance education and remote working were not common before this pandemic has begun. However, many schools and universities started to open online classrooms (while there are many online education programs in English-speaking countries). Because most school children and college students are not familiar with new type of learning, some of them are not satisfied with such virtual classroom. They still expect traditional classroom --actually attending the real classroom and listening to boring lecture.


Many Japanese working adults (often called, 'Salaryman', in Japanese-made English) also started to reconsider their stressful lifestyle. Many salarymen have to spend many hours (usually 8:00am to 8:00pm, in some case, next early morning!) at their offices. Building good human relationship with the Boss and colleagues is demanding. Junior workers show friendliness and respect to seniors. Many Japanese Bosses and senior workers are perfectionists. They always pursue uncompromising quality of services and products. Moreover, life in major cities like Tokyo is stressful. Everything is expensive --foods, housing, parking, education, medical service. Then, some working adults quit their jobs in Tokyo and moved to countryside with their families for their new lifestyles and second career.


As only the researcher in the field of Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM) in Japan, this pandemic has terribly interrupted my research. Most NDMers usually observe the expert's performance and conduct interviews to gather the data. However, to avoid infection, I cannot see the experts very often. Fortunately, I can communicate with them via the Internet and telecommunication tools. I would imagine that other NDM researchers in the US and Europe would face similar challenges and difficulties.


It's true I have some restrictions to conduct my research, but here is a good news. Currently, I have new research findings through joint research project with the Hokushin-kai acupuncture society. My findings are about the nature of the expertise and how we can develop intuition through my original cognitive training I developed. I often mention that there should be crucial cues and hints for research findings outside my specialty. For instance, Gary Klein (who is an initiator of the NDM movement in cognitive psychology) investigted how fire commanders made their judgments and decisions under life-threatening situation. Klein is not a fireman. However, he chose firemen as research samples. He actually went to the fire sites with fire commanderes and observed their performance. Likewise, traditionally, NDM researchers have investigated the mental model of the experts in various fields and industries --military, aviation, emergency medicine, petrochemical engineering, law, sports, and many others! My case, working with acupuncture doctors, would be the first case in the NDM history.


My today's lesson is 'Expand your interests and explore other fields'. You will find out hints and tips for your research findings in other fields you have never considered.