- Press Release Distribution

Emergency response could be faster, better, and more confident with 'option awareness' approach

( In a paper on decision making, human factors/ergonomics (HF/E) researchers found that choosing the best available emergency response could be improved by showing decision makers a depiction of the emergency decision space that allows them to compare their options visually. The researchers have developed the theory of option awareness (how people perceive and understand the desirability of available options), which can increase decision-making speed as well as accuracy, and confidence.

In the Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making article, "Supporting Complex Decision Making Through Option Awareness," researchers Mark S. Pfaff, Gary L. Klein, Jill L. Drury, Sung Pil Moon, Yikun Liu, and Steven O. Entezari, explain that they developed the notion of option awareness to complement situation awareness, which has been the customary focus for aiding decision making by psychologists and HF/E experts. "In complex situations, it is possible to know what is going on right now − that is, have situation awareness − and still make bad decisions as to what to do next," explains Pfaff.

In one of the four studies reported in the paper, participants were presented with 40 computer-simulated emergency scenarios (fire, riot, burglary, etc.) and asked to choose the correct number of police or fire trucks to dispatch to the emergency. One group was shown only information describing the emergency situation (representing situation awareness), and the other group was additionally shown how each number of emergency vehicles to be dispatched affected likely outcomes (representing option awareness). Participants were timed and asked about their confidence in their choices.

The "options" group sent the correct number of emergency vehicles 67% of the time, whereas the group without options sent the correct number only 42% of the time, significantly underestimating the number of vehicles required. Even though the options group had more information to take in, the speed of decisions was generally the same between the groups. Moreover, the options group reported being much more confident in their decisions.

"We have just scratched the surface of option awareness," Pfaff continues. "Future studies with more complex and realistic tasks are forthcoming. We are now designing for expert decision makers in emergency medical services and state-level pandemic responses."

### Option awareness can be applied in many other areas, including air traffic control, military, and financial domains.

To receive a copy of the paper for media reporting purposes, contact HFES Communications Associate Jessica Lin (310/394-1811; or Communications Director Lois Smith (

The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society is the world's largest nonprofit individual-member, multidisciplinary scientific association for human factors/ergonomics professionals, with more than 4,600 members globally. HFES members include psychologists and other scientists, designers, and engineers, all of who have a common interest in designing systems and equipment to be safe and effective for the people who operate and maintain them.

"Human Factors and Ergonomics: People-Friendly Design Through Science and Engineering"

Plan to attend the HFES 2013 International Annual Meeting, September 30-October 4, Hilton San Diego Bayfront, San Diego, California, USA.


How does the motor relearning program improve neurological function of brain ischemia?

The motor relearning program can significantly improve various functional disturbance induced by ischemic cerebrovascular diseases. However, its mechanism of action remains poorly understood. According to a study published in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 16, 2013), models of ischemic brain injury in the rhesus macaque were induced by electrocoagulation of the M1 segment of the right middle cerebral artery, then the motor relearning program was after model establishment. Glial fibrillary acidic protein and neurofilament protein expression changes could reflect ...

Mechanical tension promotes nerve regeneration of skin pathological scars

Scars are prone to appear at high tension parts, such as the sternum, shoulder and back, which are serious clinical problems. Surgeons reduce scar formation through Z, W, V-Y flap variation and reducing blade tension, but its specific mechanism are still not very clear. Hu Xiao and colleagues from Shandong Provincial Hospital Affiliated to Shandong University verified that mechanical tension contributed to the formation of a hyperplastic scar in the back skin of rats, in conjunction with increases in both nerve density and nerve growth factor expression in the scar tissue. ...

NPY and leptin receptor in the hypothalamus of rats with chronic immobilization stress

A recent study entitled "Neuropeptide Y and leptin receptor expression in the hypothalamus of rats with chronic immobilization stress" showed that the body weight and food intake of rats subjected to chronic immobilization stress were significantly decreased; the expression of leptin receptor and the co-localization coeffient in these leptic receptor neurons in the arcuate nucleus of the hypothalamus were both upregulated, while the number of neuropeptide Y neurons was decreased. These findings which were in the Neural Regeneration Research (Vol. 8, No. 18, 2013) indicated ...

Male guppies ensure successful mating with genital claws

TORONTO, ON – Some males will go to great lengths to pursue a female and take extreme measures to hold on once they find one that interests them, even if that affection is unrequited. New research from evolutionary biologists at the University of Toronto shows that the male guppy grows claws on its genitals to make it more difficult for unreceptive females to get away during mating. Genitalia differ greatly in animal groups, even among similar species – so much so that even closely related species may have very different genitalia. The reasons for these differences are ...

New study refutes existence and clinical potential of very small embryonic-like stem cells

Scientists have reported that very small embryonic-like stem cells (VSELs), which can be isolated from blood or bone marrow rather than embryos, could represent an alternative to mouse and human embryonic stem cells for research and medicine. But their very existence is hotly debated, and a study appearing online on July 24th in the ISSCR's journal Stem Cell Reports, published by Cell Press, provides strong evidence against the existence of VSELs capable of turning into different cell types. The findings call into question current plans to launch a clinical trial aimed ...

A novel screening method makes it easier to diagnose and treat children with autism

Researchers have developed a new screening method to diagnose autism, which unlike current methods does not rely on subjective criteria. These results are published in a series of studies in the open-access journal Frontiers in Neuroscience. The studies, funded by a US$ 650,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, were led by Elizabeth Torres, a computational neuroscientist, and Dimitri Metaxas, a computer scientist, both at Rutgers University, in collaboration with Jorge V. Jose, a theoretical physicist and computational neuroscientist from Indiana University. ...

Stanford scientists unable to find evidence of 'embryonic-like' cells in marrow of adult mice

STANFORD, Calif. — Research on human embryonic stem cells has been a political and religious lightning rod for more than a decade. The cells long have been believed to be the only naturally occurring pluripotent cells. (Under the right conditions, pluripotent cells can become any other cell in the body.) But some people object to the fact that the embryo is destroyed during their isolation. Induced pluripotent stem cells, created by experimentally manipulating an adult cell such as a skin or nerve cell, are much more ethically palatable. But many researchers feel it is ...

Neural simulations hint at the origin of brain waves

For almost a century, scientists have been studying brain waves to learn about mental health and the way we think. Yet the way billions of interconnected neurons work together to produce brain waves remains unknown. Now, scientists from EPFL's Blue Brain Project in Switzerland, at the core of the European Human Brain Project, and the Allen Institute for Brain Science in the United States, show in the July 24th edition of the journal Neuron how a complex computer model is providing a new tool to solve the mystery. The brain is composed of many different types of neurons, ...

Coastal Antarctic permafrost melting faster than expected

For the first time, scientists have documented an acceleration in the melt rate of permafrost, or ground ice, in a section of Antarctica where the ice had been considered stable. The melt rates are comparable with the Arctic, where accelerated melting of permafrost has become a regularly recurring phenomenon, and the change could offer a preview of melting permafrost in other parts of a warming Antarctic continent. Tracking data from Garwood Valley in the McMurdo Dry Valleys region of Antarctica, Joseph Levy, a research associate at The University of Texas at Austin's ...

Want to stick with your diet? Better have someone hide the chocolate

If you are trying to lose weight or save for the future, new research suggests avoiding temptation may increase your chances of success compared to relying on willpower alone. The study on self-control by researchers from the Universities of Cambridge and Dusseldorf was published today in the journal Neuron. The researchers compared the effectiveness of willpower versus voluntarily restricting access to temptations, called 'precommitment'. (Examples of precommitment include avoiding purchasing unhealthy food and putting money in savings accounts with hefty withdrawal ...


Scientists model 'true prevalence' of COVID-19 throughout pandemic

New breakthrough to help immune systems in the fight against cancer

Through the thin-film glass, researchers spot a new liquid phase

Administering opioids to pregnant mice alters behavior and gene expression in offspring

Brain's 'memory center' needed to recognize image sequences but not single sights

Safety of second dose of mRNA COVID-19 vaccines after first-dose allergic reactions

Changes in disparities in access to care, health after Medicare eligibility

Use of high-risk medications among lonely older adults

65+ and lonely? Don't talk to your doctor about another prescription

Exosome formulation developed to deliver antibodies for choroidal neovascularization therapy

Second COVID-19 mRNA vaccine dose found safe following allergic reactions to first dose

Plant root-associated bacteria preferentially colonize their native host-plant roots

Rare inherited variants in previously unsuspected genes may confer significant risk for autism

International experts call for a unified public health response to NAFLD and NASH epidemic

International collaboration of scientists rewrite the rulebook of flowering plant genetics

Improving air quality reduces dementia risk, multiple studies suggest

Misplaced trust: When trust in science fosters pseudoscience

Two types of blood pressure meds prevent heart events equally, but side effects differ

New statement provides path to include ethnicity, ancestry, race in genomic research

Among effective antihypertensive drugs, less popular choice is slightly safer

Juicy past of favorite Okinawan fruit revealed

Anticipate a resurgence of respiratory viruses in young children

Anxiety, depression, burnout rising as college students prepare to return to campus

Goal-setting and positive parent-child relationships reduce risk of youth vaping

New research identifies cancer types with little survival improvements in adolescents and young adul

Oncotarget: Replication-stress sensitivity in breast cancer cells

Oncotarget: TERT and its binding protein: overexpression of GABPA/B in gliomas

Development of a novel technology to check body temperature with smartphone camera

The mechanics of puncture finally explained

Extreme heat, dry summers main cause of tree death in Colorado's subalpine forests

[] Emergency response could be faster, better, and more confident with 'option awareness' approach