Network Science: Social Networks and Cognitive Fac
at ORAU Workforce Solutions

Date Posted: 4/23/2019

Opportunity Description

Communication and information technology has transformed military capabilities to engage in network-centric operations. To an unprecedented degree, Soldiers collaborate in distributed networks across areas of operations often using specialized information systems and communication platforms to manage the imperative to collect and analyze intelligence, secure a populace, deliver supplies, and wage war. Our interdisciplinary approach leverages convergent methodologies to include experimental psychology (experimental design), cognitive science (modeling), human factors (usability, work domain analysis), and network science (social network analysis). The emerging interdisciplinary field of network science is of particular interest to our research efforts to address a preeminent challenge posed by the sheer complexity of human-in-the-loop networks and may serve to guide the systematic convergence of technology, information, and people. The objective of our research is to understand the effects that networked systems have on human cognition and team dynamics, and to develop models, theories, and analytical approaches to examine cognitive processes, information properties, and to identify key network dynamics across the social-cognitive-technological levels. Networked systems do not necessarily take into account the processing capabilities and limitations of the human brain. Cognitive performance—evidenced by effective distributed collaboration and decision making— may or may not be well-supported by our networks and Soldier technologies. It is imperative that we understand what aspects of network operations cause an undue cognitive burden to the command staff and dismounted Soldiers who collaborate with and pull information from media such as radios, text messages, emails, battle command systems, sensors, and ground and air unmanned assets. The objective is to develop decision aids to help integrate information management for users who especially are required to rapidly and efficiently process information from sources at multiple levels. A better understanding is required of system usage on communication flow, information transfer, cognitive workload, situational awareness, expertise, individual differences, and their effects on performance. This knowledge is instrumental to the development of battle command decision support tools that improve information relevance (data aggregation), and team collaboration and synchronization (alert/aiding capabilities). This research should ultimately result in networked information systems well-aligned to the needs of the warfighter by matching system requirements to Soldier cognition and collaborations through an enhanced understanding of human-system team interactions. Click here for more information

Opportunity Snapshot

About Us

Grooming future leaders in science and technology requires enhancing the skills, knowledge and experience of workers early in their careers. To that end, ORAU (Oak Ridge Associated Universities) assists in connecting the best and most diverse students, recent graduates, faculty and professionals with world-class fellowships, internships and jobs, whether in national laboratories, research institutions, federal government offices or private sector R&D departments.

ORAU works with agencies such as the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Research Associateship Program (RAP) allow Postdoctoral Fellows, Journeyman Fellows (undergraduate and graduates students and recent graduates), Senior Researchers, and Summer Faculty engage in research initiatives of their own choice, that are compatible with the interests of the government and will potentially contribute to the general effort of the ARL. We work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to place recent graduates in full-time and part-time jobs in the Office of Research and Development at EPA under the National Student Services Contract. ORAU also works with Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

Research opportunities include, but are not limited to the following disciplines: Aerospace Engineering, Anthropology, Archeology, Biology, Biochemistry, Biological Engineering, Biomechanical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Data Science, Electrical Engineering, Environmental Health Risk Assessment, Environmental Science, Entomology, Epidemiology, Ergonomics, Geology, Health Education Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science, Mathematics, Nanotechnology, Photonics, Physics, Public Health Economics, Public Health Policy, Toxicology, and more.

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