Thursday, May 14, 2015

URSP Student Shiva Hassanzadeh-Behbahani Investigates the Relationship between Certainty and Procedural Errors

I have been working with Dr. Greg Trafton and his doctoral students, Kevin Zish and Dan Gartenberg, in the Predicting Cognition Lab for two years. We conduct experimental cognitive and human factors research on topics such as sustained attention, interruptions and resumptions, procedural errors, uncertainty, and supervisory control. After taking a course in cognitive science, I became very interested in cognitive and human factors research and decided to get involved in the research process.

The experiment that I am currently conducting aims to investigate the cognitive processes involved as people make certainty judgments while performing a computerized procedural task. Moreover, we are interested in understanding how people’s certainty judgments relate to their measured performance on the procedural task. We use state-of-the-art research methods, such as eye trackers, to identify and explore cognitive mechanisms.

As a research assistant, I collect and analyze data from human participants for my experiment, conduct literature reviews, and attend weekly lab meetings to discuss our research findings and data analysis methods. Using R programming language, I run statistical analyses and create visualizations of our data to help us interpret the results. This past week, I learned how to perform a logistic regression model in R to predict whether or not people will make an error during a procedural task based on their eye fixations.

My experience in the research lab has helped me develop an appreciation and passion for cognitive science, experimental design, and statistics. In the future, I plan to continue engaging in research by applying to Ph.D. programs in the cognitive and human factors field.