Human Factors/Applied Cognition: neuroenhancement, cognitive training, non-invasive brain stimulation, individual differences in training, use of automation tools in training
Complex Cognitive Training
How do we learn complex multi-tasks? Complex multi-tasks are tasks involving more than one cognitive component performed at the same time. Training on these tasks is based on acquiring the ability to distribute attention across different cognitive domains and successful performance requires the optimal allocation of these mental resources- but how do we learn these allocation strategies? My research focuses on the neurophysiological basis of multi-task training- including: “What brain areas are involved at different stages of learning?” and “Can we speed skill acquisition using non-invasive brain stimulation?”
Keywords: multitasking, cognitive control, executive functioning, transcranial direct current stimulation, mental resources, training
Interactive Technologies and Human Cognition
The use of interactive technologies– including smartphones, tablets, and wearable technologies—is quickly becoming ubiquitous in our society. While these technologies are often looked upon as helping us, they are also changing the fundamental way we interact with the world around us. Many of these technologies can basically be thought of as a form of automation- they perform tasks that were previous performed by humans. A prime example of this is the replacement of physical, paper maps with Google maps on our smartphones. Humans previously relied on static representations of the environment to navigate from one location to another (landmark navigation), now we are provided with turn-by-turn directions in real-time. We never even need to look at a map. The function of route planning and navigation, which used to be performed by humans, is now performed by a computer. How does this use of automation change our mental representations of the world? How does it affect learning and memory? In what ways are the uses of automation aids beneficial to performance and cognition? How will these technologies alter and extend human cognition?
Keywords: automation, interactive technologies, learning, memory, augmented cognition
Scheldrup, M., Greenwood, P.M., McKindrick, R., Strohl, J., Bikson, M., Alam, M., McKinley, R.A., Parasuraman, R. (2014) Transcranial direct current stimulation facilitates cognitive multi-task performance differentially depending on anode location and subtask. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience http://journal.frontiersin.org/Journal/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00665/abstract