Flyin’ High: “Situation Awareness” Study Wins Research Award

Published on Wed, August 31, 2011

Andrew Dattel, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology and director of the aviation program at Marywood University, was recently awarded the 2011–12 Murray Award for Research and Development. Dattel says that his research, among other things, will lead to better training for airline pilots.

In 2004, Michael and Mary Alice Collins Murray established The Murray Award for Research and Development. What’s more, recipients of this award can use funds for supplies, equipment, printing, hiring of student research support, etc. The Murray Award is a $10,000 annual award that “intends[s] to assist faculty in the implementation of research projects that show high potential for expansion and continuation.”

“I think Marywood has been very supportive of the research,” Dattel said, as he explained his reaction to winning the award. “I have several students that will be working with me this year. I think it is a great opportunity for students.”

Dattel’s paper—“Uncovering the Elements of Situation Awareness to Determine Optimal Training Paradigms for Flying, Driving, and other Dynamic Environments”—explores issues that will lead to knowledge that will improve training, increase safety, and reduce errors in “dynamic environments”: situations such as operating a car or plane where individuals are required to cope with fast-paced decision making and changing conditions.

Next month, Dattel, along with several Marywood University student researchers, will be traveling to Las Vegas, Nev., to present research at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, which takes place September 19–23. Founded in 1957, the society's mission is “to promote the discovery and exchange of knowledge concerning the characteristics of human beings.” The research paper Dattel will be presenting is titled, “What Does the Gorilla Say about Situation Awareness and Performance?”—a paper that investigates situation awareness, and long- and short-term memory.