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IUPUI Human-Computer Interaction Faculty and Students’ Work Published in Highly Regarded Journal

August 28, 2013

A paper authored by faculty and students in the IU School of Informatics and Computing at IUPUI, examining our situation awareness and decision-making processes during emergencies, was recently published in a leading peer-reviewed journal, the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making.

Mark Pfaff

“Supporting Complex Decision Making Through Option Awareness” was written by Dr. Mark Pfaff, assistant professor of Media Arts and Science and Human-Computer Interaction, doctoral students Sung Pil Moon, Yikun Liu, and Steven Entezari, and Dr. Jill Drury and Dr. Gary Klein of the MITRE Corporation. It assesses two approaches to decision making in crisis conditions – option awareness, how we examine our available choices in complex and uncertain circumstances, and situation awareness, knowing and understanding what is going on in the surrounding environment.

The paper states that deeply understanding the range of outcomes resulting from one’s available options can lead to faster, more accurate, and more confident decisions during emergency events compared to focusing on situation awareness alone.

“We have just scratched the surface of option awareness,” said Pfaff. “Future studies with more complex and realistic tasks are forthcoming. We are now designing for expert decision makers in emergency medical services and state-level pandemic responses.”

The Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making is a publication dedicated to circulating scientifically grounded studies and articles examining real-world cognitive work and applying the findings toward new designs and procedures for complex work domains.

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For more information on Dr. Pfaff visit


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