Keynote speakers

Team Cognition and Team Performance: Understanding and Enhancing Collaborative Cognition in Complex Contexts

Prof Stephen M. Fiore (University of Central Florida)

Collaborative cognition is rising in prominence as public and private sector organizations are increasingly addressing problems requiring the combination of diverse sets of individual expertise to address novel situations. But much of the research in teams has focused on behavioral coordination in routine tasks. As such, there is a need for developing an understanding of, and interventions for, the support of team cognition integrating knowledge-based and behavioral performance in teams. In this keynote address I provide an overview of major team cognitive constructs, building upon traditions examining team process, and uniting them with ideas from cognitive science. I organize around a multi-level theoretical approach incorporating the role of internalized and externalized knowledge along with individual and team knowledge building process as teams collaborate to plan, make decisions, and solve problems. This is complemented with notional training approaches that highlight the relevance of team metacognitive processes when dealing with complex and novel situations. Finally, the role of technology in training is discussed to illustrate how cognitive engineering can be integrated with theory and methods to develop interventions for improving team performance.

Dr Stephen M. Fiore is Director, Cognitive Sciences Laboratory, and Professor with the University of Central Florida's Cognitive Sciences Program in the Department of Philosophy and Institute for Simulation & Training. He maintains a multidisciplinary research interest that incorporates aspects of the cognitive, social, organizational, and computational sciences in the investigation of learning and performance in individuals and teams. His primary area of research is the interdisciplinary study of complex collaborative cognition and the understanding of how humans interact socially and with technology.

Advancing the Science of Teamwork and Practice of Team Performance Improvement

Dr Gerald F. Goodwin (U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences)

The science of teamwork has made contributions to increasing performance in the military and sport, among other application domains, for decades. These contributions have focused in staffing and composition, training, team leadership, performance measurement, and understanding of how performance processes unfold. More recent advances in measurement have begun to enable a refined understanding of performance in more objective ways. Some of these advances have grown first in the sporting arena (e.g., use of high speed cameras to track details of basketball play). Joining of team performance theory with new measurement and sensor technologies holds promise going forward for substantially refining our understanding of how teams perform, and how to intervene to further improve team performance. This may also open to avenues to improving the understanding and practice of how we assign individuals to teams.

Dr Gerald F. (Jay) Goodwin is Chief of the Foundational Science Research Unit at the U. S. Army Research Institute for Behavioral and Social Sciences (ARI). In addition to overseeing ARI’s basic research program, he is responsible for two research teams focused on development of cross-cultural competence and assessing and developing unit cohesion. His research expertise is in leadership, team and organizational effectiveness, and cultural factors in Joint, Interagency, and Multinational contexts. He has led or overseen projects investigating shared cognition in command teams, leadership in multi-team systems, team staffing and composition, leader development and training, and cultural factors in interpersonal interactions. Dr. Goodwin received his M.S. and Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. He is a member of the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology, the American Psychological Association (APA), and APA Division 19 (Military Psychology).

It Is Time To Make A Quantum Change to How We Deliver Durable Learning

Mr Kenneth Murray (Training for the Armiger Police Training Institute)

There has recently been an immense focus on topics such as Performance Optimization, Resilience, PTSD, etc. Vast sums of money and years of research have been expended and although there have been advances based on what we now know in the world of neuroscience, the military is still far behind in the fields of behavior shaping. Sadly, much of this is a direct result of the rotational nature of career paths, coupled with cookie cutter approaches to training methodologies. People (and soldiers) are individuals, and respond to all experience as such. This discussion will make the case that the military needs to behave more like professional sports franchises that are interested in winning cups or gold medals than they are about the “one career with many jobs” approach that seems to be endemic in the current military systems around the world, with a solid understanding that training (and trainers) are specialists that should be chosen (and trained) for their ability to install durable learning in their students rather than have the ability to deliver canned, 45 minute presentations.

Mr Kenneth Murray is the Director of Training for the Armiger Police Training Institute (www.armiger.net) and Founder of the Reality Based Training Association (www.RBTA.net) located in the greater Orlando area of Florida. He lectures on both a national and international level on the topics Officer Safety and Survival, the Psychology of Lethal Force Encounters, the Seven Survivals®, and is regarded as the leading authority on Reality Based Training in its various forms spanning the realm of technologies. His book Training at the Speed of Life – The Definitive Textbook for Police and Military Reality Based Training is used as a textbook throughout police and military organizations worldwide including the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center and is on the Australian Defence Force’s Recommended Reading List.

Learning to perform under pressure: evidence-based practice or a shot in the dark?

Dr Arne Nieuwenhuys (University of Auckland)

High levels of performance pressure can induce psychophysiological responses (e.g., stress, anxiety) that impair cognitive functioning and alter the deliberate control of movement. However, for police officers, soldiers, and other professionals operating under critical circumstances – where health, physical safety and even life may be on the line – being able to sustain performance despite high levels of pressure can be of vital importance. In this presentation I will draw upon evidence from 10 years of research with police officers and other professional populations to indicate how (1) pressure-induced increases in anxiety affect the perception of task-relevant information and selection and execution of goal-directed action; and (2) relevant work-related factors such as fatigue and sleep-deprivation (e.g., due to shift-work) may cause further complication. Based on insight in the anxiety-performance relationship, several evidence-based interventions will be reviewed and a case will be made for the design of representative learning and practice environments (e.g., training with anxiety); allowing professionals to acclimatize performance and maintain control over their actions in those situations where it counts the most.

Dr Arne Nieuwenhuys is senior lecture in sport, exercise and performance psychology at the University of Auckland, Department of Exercise Sciences. Dr. Nieuwenhuys' research focuses on how psycho-physiological states such as anxiety, fatigue and sleep influence human movement and performance. His work ranges from experimentally controlled studies that are conducted in the lab to field experiments and monitoring studies that are conducted among specific target populations (e.g., athletes, soldiers, police officers). By understanding how critical cognitive and motor functions are affected by (changes in) individuals' psycho-physiological state, Dr. Nieuwenhuys aims to develop evidence-based interventions that help people improve their performance in those situations where it counts the most.

Brain mechanisms and Enhancing training and learning

Prof. Miriam Reiner (Technion - Israel Institute of Technology; Stanford University)

Is it possible to enhance learning processes beyond the individual standard performance? This talk will bring evidence on enhancement in terms of: [1] Expedited neural processing and improved accuracy in response to exposure to multi modal cues in a learning context; [2] Enhanced memory consolidation processes of motor and cognitive with theta neurofeedback; [3] Applications of embodiment in VR in an external body for enhanced learning; [4] Extraction of mental load and stress from eye dynamics in the process of learning as a basis of brain-computer-interface of adaptation of the learning environment to the human level of difficulty. I will conclude with a model applied to sports and motor/cognitive training in tasks that require fast and accurate motor responses, and extraction of mental states in real time.

Prof Miriam Reiner started and headed the virtual reality neuro cognition lab at the Technion. She is active in the EU H2020 program on Cognitive Robotics, Interactive Environments and Human AI. She acted as a visiting Prof at Stanford, UCN, in the US, at NTU in Singapore, and UCL in the UK. She published more than 150 papers in peer reviewed journals, books and conferences, and gave tens of keynotes at scientific conferences. Some of her patents were commercialized into a company, acquired recently by Mantis-Vision. She also serves as the Vice President of innovation at Mantis Vision.

The United States Military Academy: Developing Mentally Tough Leaders of Character

COL Darcy Schnack

The United States Military Academy at West Point, established in 1802, is one of the oldest service academies in the World. Today, West Point annually provides the U.S. Army with approximately 1000 graduates, who are commissioned as second lieutenants and serve a minimum of five years on active duty. This talk will provide participants with an overview of West Point’s Leader Development System, detailing how cadets grow in the academic, military, physical, and character domains. You will learn how mental toughness and resilience are fostered through a culture of character growth and gain insight into West Point’s Performance Enhancement Education Model.

COL Darcy Schnack graduated from the United States Military Academy Preparatory School in 1992 and the United States Military Academy in 1996. Upon graduation, she was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Transportation Corps. She later earned her Master’s degree from Boston College in 2006 and then completed her PhD in Sociology, also from Boston College, in January 2019. Colonel Schnack has served at various levels of leadership in the U.S. Army, two tours in Iraq as an Army logistician, and two tours teaching in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership where she served as the Military Leadership Course Director. She is an Academy Professor and currently the Director of West Point’s Center for Enhanced Performance, which houses their Performance Psychology and Academic Excellence programs. Darcy also recently served as the Co-Chair for Character Development and Integration at West Point.

Introductory address

BRIG Ian Langford has held a range of command and staff appointments in the Army and Special Forces during his career. Brigadier Langford has served as the Commanding Officer, 2nd Commando Regiment, and has commanded multiple Special Operations Task Groups in Afghanistan, Iraq, and domestic counter-terrorism duties. He assumed the role Director-General of Future Land Warfare, Army Headquarters, in December 2018. Brigadier Langford is a Distinguished Graduate of the United States Marine Corps Command and Staff College and the School of Advanced Warfighting. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Management, a Master of Arts, a Master of Defence Studies and a Master of Strategic Studies. He has been published in multiple service journals and as an independent author, and is currently undertaking PhD studies.