Enhancing Intuitive Decision Making Through Implicit Learning

Project: Research project

Project Details


A vast array of Navy tasks require individuals to make decisions and act effectively, including tasks undertaken by small unit leaders and information analysts. Experts use both trained knowledge and intuitive knowledge acquired from years of on-the-job experience. However, initially individuals typically only have knowledge memorized from training, potentially costing time, money, and even lives, as trainees are unable to bring memorized and intuitive knowledge to bear on decision-making. Human memory systems research has identified characteristics of the separate underlying processes that support explicit, memorized knowledge and also implicit, nonconscious knowledge that supports intuitive decision making. The primary objective of the proposed work is to leverage implicit learning methodologies to enable non-experts to be more effective decision makers, thus saving the Navy and other US military branches training costs and creating a more effective fighting force. To achieve this objective, a program of study is described that will establish scientific and technical techniques for quantifying and improving intuitive decision making via implicit learning. Building on our research on the neurocognitive basis of implicit learning and intuitive decision making, the proposed project will further characterize the use of implicit intuition in more operationally relevant tasks. We will develop a new paradigm based on decision making in simulation-based training environments featuring implicitly-learned, covert statistical signals embedded in the stimuli. Whereas previous studies have focused on simple, artificial tasks in a laboratory environment, this paradigm will allow measurement of the effect of adding implicit learning to more operationally relevant decisions, paving the way for effective training protocols. With a quantitative estimate of the improvement in decision accuracy, we will evaluate the effectiveness of differing instructional and motivational approaches to improving the use of intuition in complex environments.
Effective start/end date2/1/1612/31/18


  • Office of Naval Research (N00014-16-1-2251)


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