Cognitive Organization as a Function of Flying Experience
NEW MEXICO STATE UNIV LAS CRUCES
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This report reviews work in defining and measuring conceptual structures of critical flight information in Air Force fighter pilots. Groups of pilots with widely varying expertise were tested. Cognitive structures were defined by multidimensional scaling MDS and general weighted networks GWN. The structures were validated by recovering the experience differences among the pilots from their conceptual structures. Group membership can be predicted from a persons conceptual structure. The techniques employed permit detailed analyses of individual differences, and they point to factors distinguishing expert and novice pilots. The GWN analysis led to the identification of specific points of agreement and disagreement in the conceptual organization of novice and expert pilots. Pilots do have measurable cognitive structures for organizing flight-related information. These structures are measurably different for individuals with differing flight experience. The techniques used here produce descriptions of conceptual structure that may have application in training and assessing individual differences in the development of expert conceptual structures.
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