Gray (2002)

Gray, W. D. (2002). Simulated task environments: The role of high-fidelity simulations, scaled worlds, synthetic environments, and microworlds in basic and applied cognitive research. Cognitive Science Quarterly 2(2), 205-227.

Simulated task environments: The role of high-fidelity simulations, scaled worlds, synthetic environments, and microworlds in basic and applied cognitive research

Simulated task environments provide a setting that adds controlled complexity to experimental tasks performed by human subjects in laboratory research. Researchers whose problems are mostly applied may find that their problems are easier to study in a simulated task environment than in the actual task environment. Researchers whose theories have been nurtured in the simple environments of the typical laboratory study may find that adding controlled complexity will allow them to study how the theoretical constructs they have studied in isolation interact with other constructs in a more complex task environment. In this article I define a taxonomy and three dimensions of simulated task environments. The dimensions are based on viewing simulated task environments from the perspectives of the researcher, the task, and the participants. Research on complex systems is inherently complex. It is my hope that the terms and distinctions introduced in this article will further the scientific enterprise by enabling us to spend less time explaining our paradigms and more time communicating our results.

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