Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blogging on Division 21 talks from the 2012 American Psychological Association Annual Meeting: IED Detection

Improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are responsible for majority of deaths or injuries in overseas combats.

In his talk, Dr. Russel Branagahan discussed the techniques that he and his colleagues used to determine the strategies that experts use to detect IEDs and how this information can be used to create simulators for training novices.

Some of the techniques that were employed are described below:
  • Observations and unstructured interviews:  These techniques revealed that discovering an already placed IED is very difficult and that success lies in detecting the IED placement as it is happening. Individuals also exhibit certain consistent behaviours during the IED placement process (such as several individuals adding trash to a heap until someone finally planting the IED).
  • Concurrent verbal protocols: In this technique, the research team presented sensor operators with video replays of IED events and concurrently elicited information on the cues and strategies that they employed in IED detection. This technique helped to glean important information with regard to search strategies, camera operation, and contextual cues to look for (e.g., people digging on the side of the road, disturbed earth, and behaviour inconsistent with the time of the day).
  • Structured interviews: Through this technique, the research team asked experts to walkthrough various suspicious situations and to explain the cues that led to an alert. This provided information on important environmental characteristics that need to be paid attention to, such as pattern and activities of people (e.g., loitering, running, evacuating a street), terrain (e.g., tunnel, trash), and things (e.g., car, dead animal, shovel).
The information obtained through these techniques will be used to develop simulator scenarios.

Photo credit: US Army via Wikimedia Commons

1 comment:

  1. Psychology Academy is dedicated to the principal that you should have the opportunity and encouragement to develop to your full potential. Psychology Academy works with you to ensure that you gain the in-demand education, real world skills and experience that will lead to success in your chosen career field.