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Cognitive computing refers to technology platforms that, broadly speaking, are based on the scientific disciplines of artificial intelligence and signal processing.

Cognitive Task Analysis

Cognitive task analysis (CTA) is a type of Task analysis aimed at understanding tasks that require a lot of cognitive activity from the user, such as decision-making, problem-solving, memory, attention and judgement.

The cognitive task analysis methods analyze and represent the cognitive activities users utilize to perform certain tasks. Some of the steps of a cognitive task analysis are: the mapping of the task, identifying the critical decision points, clustering, linking, and prioritizing them, and characterizing the strategies used (Klein, G. A. (1993). Naturalistic decision making: Implications for design. Wright Patterson AFB, OH: Crew Systems Ergonomics Information Analysis Center.). There is a collection of methods available for conducting a cognitive task analysis. Applied Cognitive Task Analysis (ACTA), the Critical Decision Method (CDM), Skill-Based CTA Framework, Task-Knowledge Structures (TKS) and the Cognitive Function Model (CFM) are a few examples.

Cognitive task analysis has been used to examine:

  • Performance differences between novices and experts
  • Mental workload associated with complex controls and displays
  • Decision-making of experts
  • The development and evolution of mental models.
  • Information requirements for command and control systems
  • Troubleshooting, fault isolation, and diagnostic procedures


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