Wayne Gray tries to understand how goal-directed cognition is shaped by the accommodation of basic interactive routines to the cost structure of the task environment. Interactive routines are composites of cognitive, perceptual, and motor operators that come together at the 1/3 to 3 second timespan to form elementary but meaningful units of interactive behavior. They are posited to form the basic behavioral units of interactive behavior for human-device, human-information, and human-human interactions. The selection of these basic elements of integrated behavior is typically beneath our conscious awareness and deliberate control. Hence, the claim (not uncommon in Cognitive Science) is that non-deliberate forces that dynamically react to our task environment shape a large part of our mental life.
There is a basic and applied component to this research agenda. The Cognitive Science side focuses on the control of interactive behavior, resource allocation, dynamic decision-making, memory, attention, and motor movement. The Cognitive Engineering side can be characterized by the terms visual-analytics, human-computer interaction (HCI), cognitive workload, and human error. The two types of research feed into each other and are supported by a core of common techniques and methods including computational cognitive modeling, cognitive task analysis, and detailed collection and analysis of behaviors that take less than 1000 milliseconds to occur (e.g., eeg, keystrokes, mouse movements, and eye gaze) and which are elicited in near instantaneous response to dynamic system events..
Professor Gray earned his Ph.D. from U. C. Berkeley in 1979. His first position was with the U. S. Army Research Institute where he worked on tactical team training (at the Monterey Field Unit) and later on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) technology to training for air-defense systems (HAWK) (at ARI-HQ Alexandria, VA). He spent a post-doctoral year with Prof. John R. Anderson's lab at Carnegie Mellon University before joining the AI Laboratory of NYNEX' Science & Technology Division. At NYNEX he applied cognitive task analysis and cognitive modeling to the design and evaluation of interfaces for large, commercial telecommunications systems. His academic career began at Fordham University and then moved to George Mason University. He joined the Cognitive Science Department at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2002.
Gray is a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society, the Human Factors & Ergonomics Society (HFES), and the American Psychological Association (APA). In 2008, APA awarded him the Franklin V. Taylor Award for Outstanding Contributions in the Field of Applied Experimental & Engineering Psychology. He is a past Chair of the Cognitive Science Society and the founding Chair of the Human Performance Modeling technical group of HFES. At present he is a Consulting Editor for the Psychological Review and the Executive Editor for the Cognitive Science Society’s first new journal in 30 years, Topics in Cognitive Science (topiCS). In 2012, he was elected a Fellow by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and spent his sabbatical in research at the Max Planck Institute Center for Adaptive Behavior and Cognition (ABC) in Berlin. Most recently, he received an IBM Faculty Award from IBM's Cognitive Systems Institute.