Ehret, Gray, & Kirschenbaum (2000)

Ehret, B. D., Gray, W. D., & Kirschenbaum, S. S. (2000). Contending with complexity: Developing and using a scaled world in applied cognitive research. Human Factors, 42(1), 8-23.

Contending with Complexity: Developing and Using a Scaled World in Applied Cognitive Research

Scaled worlds preserve certain functional relationships of a complex task environment while paring away others. The functional relationships preserved are defined by the questions of interest to the researcher. Different scaled worlds of the same task may preserve and pare away different functional relationships. In this paper, we use the example of Ned to discuss the use of scaled worlds in applied cognitive research. Ned is based on a detailed cognitive task analysis of submarine approach officers as they attempt to localize an enemy submarine hiding in deep water. For Ned, we attempted to preserve the functional relationships inherent in the approach officerÕs information environment while paring away other aspects of his task environment. Scaled worlds attempt to maintain the realism inherent in the preserved functional relationship while being tractable for the researcher and engaging to the participant.

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