Category: Research

ACSHF Forum: Jason Archer

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host MTU Humanities Assistant Professor Jason Archer at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum.

The presentation, “The Embrace of the Surgical Machine: Touch, Practice, and Power in the Operating Room”, will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday (February 6) in Meese 109 and via Zoom

In this presentation, Jason Archer will talk about his work in the area of Human Machine Communication, focusing on research related to the da Vinci Surgical System (dVSS), a system widely used in robotic-assisted surgery. Dr. Archer will discuss how concerns with touch-oriented media sparked his investigation of the dVSS, explain the challenges of doing research in a surgical setting, and share stories from interviews with robotic surgeons, and observations from the OR, that help highlight some of his findings.

ACSHF Forum: Grad Student Presentations

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host ACSHF PhD Students Lauren Sprague and Brandon Woolman at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum. Their presentations will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday (January 23) in Meese 109 and via Zoom.

Sprague will present “Pilot test of critical flicker fusion in combination with functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) in order to accurately measure cognitive workload during a visuospatial vigilance task.

Abstract:
Vigilance tasks are largely considered to be stressful to perform, difficult to stay on task, and cognitively draining due to the mental demands of sustaining attention. These tasks, which involve the monitoring of an environment for critical signals while avoiding more frequent neutral signals, induce what has been dubbed the vigilance decrement. The vigilance decrement typically involves a decline in performance as well as an increase in response time. During the investigation of this decrement, some tools need to be validated before they should be used to investigate it. Functional near-infrared spectroscopy is a non-invasive brain imaging technique that provides real-time data on changes in light absorption caused by the hemodynamic activity of the brain region in question. This hemodynamic activity provides information about cognitive effort. The flicker fusion threshold is the frequency at which an observer perceives a flickering light as static. This threshold can provide information about cortical arousal, alertness, fatigue, and cognitive workload. This study seeks to determine if these two methods, utilized alongside the NASA-TLX a measure of mental workload, can provide detailed information about the cognitive effort of a task as well as any decline in mental resources due to the mental effort of a visuospatial vigilance task.  

Woolman will present “Assessing Cognitive Impairment and Early Alzheimer’s Disease Using a Reverse Visually Guided Reaching Task.

Abstract:
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, which is known for its impacts on cognitive functions, especially memory. Early signs of AD can be difficult to diagnose (Porsteinsson et al., 2021), neuropsychological test batteries designed for dementia are only moderately reliable. Recent findings in the field of motor behavior have show novel motor tasks to be sensitive to cognitive differences between younger and older adults. Some motor tasks have shown to be more sensitive to cognitive deficits compared to neuropsychological test batteries (Watral & Trewartha, 2021). For example, tasks like the visuomotor rotation task, where participants adapt to a visuomotor perturbation, have been identified as a means for assessing cognition (Buch, Young & Contreras-Vidal, 2003). Recent work by Tippet and Sergio (2006) developed a reverse visually guided reaching task (rVGR) in which participants make a series of aimed movements toward a target. During the rVGR task, the visual cursor moves in the opposite direction of the physical reach, forcing the participant to correct their movements by reversing the reaching direction. Measures of performance in this task, such as movement speed and inconsistency of movements, have been shown to change in preclinical Alzheimer’s populations (Hawkins & Sergio, 2014). The current investigation seeks to further characterize rVGR performance differences between younger adults, older adults, and individuals with early AD (diagnosed with MCI or mild AD). For this purpose, we are recruiting 20 younger adults, 20 healthy older adults, and 20 early AD patients. We are testing the prediction that participants with AD should perform similarly to the controls on a VGR task but show significant deficits on the rVGR task. Additionally, correlations will be examined between performance on a neuropsychological battery and the rVGR task performance to test the prediction that performance on the motor task are related to changes in cognition in AD. This work may provide the foundation for using motor tasks as a diagnostic tool for cognitive impairments in preclinical stages of MCI and Alzheimer’s Disease. Early diagnosis of cognitive impairments due to MCI and AD could allow physicians to maximize the effectiveness of available treatment methods for slowing the progression of the disease.

ACSHF Forum: Destaney Sauls

Destaney Sauls, Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences (CLS) Visiting Instructor, will kick off the spring semester forums for Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors (ACSHF) with her presentation, “Tried and True: The Role of Perceived Loyalty in Friendship Functioning,” from 2-3 p.m. Monday (January 9) in Meese 109 and via Zoom.

Abstract: Research concerning social relationships has often suggested that loyalty is an important feature of a wide variety of relationships – however, this research has also produced inconsistent results regarding the actual impact of loyalty. Generally speaking, much of the research concerning social relationships has focused on romantic relationships, rather than platonic. The current research utilizes the context of a platonic friendship to examine the possibility that perceived loyalty may be more impactful on a relationship than actual loyalty – essentially, how loyal someone is might matter, but what might matter more is how loyal their friend “thinks” they are.

Alexandra Watral Awarded Doctoral Finishing Fellowship

photo of Alexandra Watral
Alexandra Watral, ACSHF PhD Candidate

Each semester, the Michigan Tech Graduate School awards Finishing Fellowships that provide support to PhD candidates who are close to completing their degrees. These fellowships are available through the generosity of alumni and friends of the University. They are intended to recognize outstanding PhD candidates who are in need of financial support to finish their degrees and are also contributing to the attainment of goals outlined in The Michigan Tech Plan

This spring’s 2023 Doctoral Finishing Fellowship recipients include Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors (ACSHF) PhD candidate Alexandra (Alex) Watral. Alex is advised by Dr. Kevin Trewartha and her research involves motor learning as a sensitive behavioral marker of early Alzheimer’s Disease. Read on for more details of Alex’s research in her personal statement as follows.

My interests lie at the intersection of accessibility and efficiency. For this reason, I transitioned away from clinical work and started my PhD in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors in January 2019 under the guidance of Dr. Kevin Trewartha. From day one, my research has focused on developing new tools for assessing cognitive decline in older adults through the study of motor skill learning using a specialized robotic device.

My dissertation research focuses on the use of two novel motor skill learning tasks to distinguish between healthy aging, mild cognitive impairment, and the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s is typically measured using neuropsychological tests that lack sensitivity and specificity to subtle changes in cognitive function associated with disease progression. As such, these tests struggle to correctly diagnoses patients with pre-clinical dementia symptoms (such as mild cognitive impairment) or the early stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Recent research, however, has shown that the ability to adapt our movements to learn a new motor skill may relate to changes in learning and memory that occur early in the development of the disease. My dissertation will explore the relationship between data collected from two motor learning tasks and data collected through a typical battery of neuropsychological tests to diagnose Alzheimer’s-type dementia. We expect that these motor learning tasks can go above and beyond the ability of the neuropsychological battery to detect changes in cognitive functioning. Importantly, these motor learning tasks take about half the time to complete compared to the standard diagnostic procedures. By showing that these tasks are sensitive to subtle changes in cognitive decline, we can increase certainty in the proper diagnosis while minimizing the time and costs associated with the diagnostic procedure. This could lead to earlier and more efficient diagnoses and subsequent earlier treatment to slow the progression of cognitive decline, thereby improving patient and caregiver quality of life.

I would like to thank the Graduate School Awards Advisory Panel for this fellowship, and my advisor, Dr. Kevin Trewartha, for his consistent support and guidance over the last four years.


Michigan Tech’s Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences offers bachelor of science degrees in Psychology and Human Factors, along with a Minor in Psychology. We also offer an Accelerated Masters degree in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors (ACSHF), which typically requires only one additional year of course work. Our graduate program includes masters and doctoral degrees in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors (ACSHF).

Questions? Contact us at cls@mtu.edu. And follow us @clsmtu on Instagram and Facebook for the latest happenings.

ACSHF Forum: Grad Student Presentations

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host ACSHF PhD Students Anne Linja and Alex Watral at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum. Their presentations will be from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. Monday (November 28) in Meese 109 and via Zoom.

Linja will present her research titled “Through the Eyes of Tesla FSD Drivers: Tesla Drivers’ Social Media Posts Never Run Out of Gas”

Abstract: With the recent deployment of the latest generation of Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) mode, consumers are using semi-autonomous vehicles in both highway and residential driving for the
first time. As a result, drivers are facing complex and unanticipated situations with an unproven technology, which is a central challenge for cooperative cognition. One way to support cooperative
cognition in such situations is to inform and educate the user about potential limitations. Because these limitations are not always easily discovered, users have turned to the internet and social media
to document their experiences, seek answers to questions they have, provide advice on features to others, and assist other drivers with less FSD experience. In this presentation, I will explore a novel approach to supporting cooperative cognition: Using social media posts can help characterize the limitations of the automation in order to get information about the limitations of the system and explanations and workarounds for how to deal with these limitations. Ultimately, our goal is to determine the kinds of problems being reported via social media that might be useful in helping users anticipate and develop a better mental model of an AI system that they rely on. To do so, we examine a corpus of social media posts about FSD problems to identify (1) the typical problems reported, (2) the kinds of explanations or answers provided by users, and (3) the feasibility of using such user-generated information to provide training and assistance for new drivers. The results reveal a number of limitations of the FSD system (e.g., lane-keeping and phantom braking) that may be anticipated by drivers, enabling them to predict and avoid the problems, thus allowing better mental models of the system and supporting cooperative cognition of the human-AI system in more situations.

Watral will present her research titled “Sensitivity of a Robotic Hit & Avoid Task to Executive Control and Global Cognitive Changes in Healthy Aging and Cognitive Impairment”

Abstract: We recently found that a rapid motor decision-making task is sensitive to age differences in executive control and can isolate the cognitive from the sensorimotor contributions to task performance (Watral & Trewartha, 2021). However, we are also interested in this task’s ability to distinguish between healthy aging and cognitive impairment as seen in the early stages of Alzheimer’s. In this presentation, I will revisit the results from Watral & Trewartha (2021) and show preliminary findings comparing task performance between healthy older adults and those who exhibit cognitive impairment. Additionally, task parameters thought to be associated with executive control will be compared to a traditional measure of executive functioning (Trail Making Test) and a global measure of overall cognitive functioning (Montreal Cognitive Assessment).

Carolyn Duncan: Free Falling

Original story published on College of Engineering Blog, 11/10/2022

Cat suspended in air
Just what is Reactive Balance Ability? And why does it matter? Join us during Husky Bites, to find out!
Carolyn Duncan, Michigan Tech Assistant Professor

Carolyn Duncan shares her knowledge on Husky Bites, a free, interactive Zoom webinar this Monday, 11/14 at 6 pm ET. Learn something new in just 30 minutes or so, with time after for Q&A! Get the full scoop and register at mtu.edu/huskybites.

What are you doing for supper this Monday night 11/14 at 6 ET? Grab a bite with Carolyn Duncan, assistant professor, Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology and Affiliated Assistant Professor, Cognitive and Learning Sciences at Michigan Tech.

Joining in will be Sarah Aslani, Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors (ACSHF) PhD student and a member of  Prof. Duncan’s MTU Balance and Functional Mobility Lab at Michigan Tech, who will share just how balance is studied in the lab.

Falls are a major cause of serious injury and death in our society. So how can we prevent them? 

Sarah Aslani, ACSHF PhD student, Michigan Tech

“We need greater understanding of exactly what affects our ability to regain our balance when we lose it,” Duncan explains. “Not all risk factors affect balance in the same way. There are many unanswered questions, and that’s where our research comes in,” she says.

How do we anticipate falling? And what happens if we are distracted?

“There’s a lot we still don’t understand in respect to balance,” she says. Some major culprits, though: clutter and poor lighting. 

During Husky Bites, Prof. Duncan will explore what is currently known on how we regain our balance, share some things we can do to improve our balance and prevent falls, and discuss her ongoing research on balance control and fall prevention.

We can learn a lot from penguins, says Prof. Carolyn Duncan.

Duncan earned her BSc in Kinesiology and MSc in Occupational Biomechanics, both at the University of New Brunswick, and her PhD in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on biomechanics at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She was a postdoctoral fellow in Neuroscience at the University of Waterloo in the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, then taught engineering ergonomics courses at Virginia Tech before joining the faculty at Michigan Tech in 2018.

After obtaining her doctorate in mechanical engineering, Prof. Duncan spent time working as an ergonomist and fall prevention specialist before she became a researcher. Her work has spanned from fall prevention in offshore industries to developing fall prevention safety programs for workplaces. These experiences give her valuable real-world insights in the fall-related challenges people face in everyday life.

Balance control research in Prof. Duncan’s MTU Balance and Functional Mobility Lab at Michigan Tech

At Michigan Tech, Duncan investigates factors that influence successful balance recovery—from lighting, load-carrying, and aging, to cognitive, neurological, and physical disorders and musculoskeletal injury. She also works with the design of built environments for older adults and special populations. 

“My research primarily focuses on the factors that influence successful balance recovery to prevent falls and improve mobility,” she explains.

Her work studying balance recovery in moving environments—such as the wave motion encountered in maritime settings—involves asking questions, such as “would dancers have better balance on a boat?” 

(Prof. Duncan found that while dancers demonstrated significantly fewer stumbling events when on a simulated boat than novices during the first trial, dancers did not perform as well as individuals with offshore experience.)

Clutter + Poor Lighting = Falls, says Prof. Carolyn Duncan. (Okay, we’ve been warned.)

Arriving recently from the warmer climate of Tehran to earn her PhD in Cognitive Learning Sciences in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Aslani has not yet experienced a Houghton winter, or ever slipped on the ice and snow. Thankfully, she is co-advised by Prof. Duncan and Kevin Trewartha, an assistant professor with joint appointment in CLA and KIP. They’re already preparing Aslani for what to expect when the snowflakes start to fly and temperatures dip.

Are wide stairs safer or more dangerous? And what does the “run length” have to do with it? We’ll find out during Husky Bites!

“Sarah has a background in biomedical engineering, and she just started this semester,” says Duncan. “She will be doing her PhD research on factors that influence our ability to recover our balance. I look forward to furthering this area of research with her in the upcoming years. And we look forward to teaching her how to snowboard and ski as part of our Lab bonding time.”

“I was looking for a research project that would cover both of my interests—biology and neuroscience—when I saw Dr. Duncan’s profile on the Michigan Tech website,” adds Aslani. “So I sent her an email. Then, in our first meeting, it really felt right. I knew this would be a place where I’d fit in.”

In the lab, Duncan and her team perform balance control research. Their overall goal: to help improve the lives of individuals in our community.

“Type 2 Diabetes is a big challenge facing many older adults, with devastating effects on balance. However, surprisingly, very little is known about how exercises like Tai Chi may decrease fall risk. My team is excited to start examining how effective lost-cost group exercise programs like Tai Chi, for improving balance and decreasing risk of falls. We’ll be working in collaboration with Dr. Kevin Trewartha and physical therapists Dr. Cameron Williams and Dr. Lydia Lytle,” Duncan says.

“Dim lighting is often associated with falls in the home,” she adds. “We’re currently looking into how lighting specifically affects balance recovery. We hope this knowledge will be used to develop guidelines on optimal lighting in homes and built environments in our community  to decrease risk of falls.’

During Husky Bites, Prof. Duncan promises to offer some takeaways, too. She’ll provide exact details on the best kinds of shoes, railings and stairs to prevent falls. 

“Mountain biking and alpine skiing are my passions, so the Upper Peninsula is a great place to live all year around,” says Dr. Duncan.

Dr. Duncan, how did you first get into engineering? What sparked your interest?

I first got into Engineering when I decided that pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering would best suit my long-term goals of being a researcher in biomechanics. My previous undergraduate and Masters degrees in Kinesiology and Science with focuses in biomechanics and ergonomics had sparked a desire to learn more advanced biomechanical modeling techniques. A PhD in Mechanical Engineering allowed me to learn these advanced biomechanical modeling techniques while also gaining the foundational knowledge in mechanical and human factors engineering to pursue this career.

Hometown, family?
I’m originally from Rothesay, New Brunswick, Canada–about 45 minutes east of Maine. Interestingly, I come from a healthcare and teaching family. My parents were both public school teachers, and my grandparents were all healthcare professionals or engineers. I have one younger brother who is currently an electrician in Vancouver, British Columbia. 

There’s something so adorable about Brady!

What do you like to do in your spare time?

I’m a member of the Mont Ripley Ski Patrol and Copper Harbor Bike Patrol. I’ve recently taken up Nordic skiing and disc golf. When I’m not outside I love to cook and am an avid indoor gardener. I have a two-year old ginger tabby cat named “Brady the Tomcat,” in honor of Tom Brady (I’m a lifelong New England Patriots fan). I found Brady at Copper Country Humane Society right here in Houghton. 

Sarah, how did you first get into engineering? What sparked your interest?

“I always enjoy chatting with my friends,” says Aslani. “Sometimes when I want to clear my head and not think of anything, I hang out with a friend.”

Growing up, I was always trying to figure out my real passion–some area in which I am really talented, so that I can direct all my attention and power toward it.

I tried out many things, including painting and playing piano. But, they were never enough for me. After getting admitted to the Iranian Biology Olympiad (IrBO) at age fourteen, and then, a year later, to the Iranian’s national Mathematics Olympiad, I started to realize that I may be good at both those fields (biology and math). That is why a couple of years later, I chose to pursue a biomedical engineering degree.

Hometown, family?
Until recently, I lived in Tehran, Iran. It is the capital of Iran. Very crowded, but it is very beautiful, with lots of beautiful countryside spots to go on picnics, like Chitgar Lake. Plus, there are two, three great places to go hiking.

We are a small family. I have a younger brother who also chose the engineering field. My dad is an agricultural engineer. My mum is a biotechnology researcher. 

Any hobbies? Pets? What do you like to do in your spare time?
The first thing is that I love hiking; when I was in Iran I used to go hiking every two weeks.

Hiking is one of Aslani’s passions. She’s excited to get out and start exploring the UP!

Another thing I am crazy about is learning new languages. I learn new languages by watching movies and listening to music. Recently I started learning Spanish. I love Spanish music. I memorized the lyrics and tried them out with karaoke!

And finally, I always enjoy chatting with my friends. Sometimes when I want to clear my head and not think of anything, I hang out with a friend. 


Michigan Tech’s Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences offers bachelor of science degrees in Psychology and Human Factors, along with a Minor in Psychology. We also offer an Accelerated Masters degree in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors (ACSHF), which typically requires only one additional year of course work. Our graduate program includes masters and doctoral degrees in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors (ACSHF).

Questions? Contact us at cls@mtu.edu. And follow us @clsmtu on Instagram and Facebook for the latest happenings.

ACSHF Forum: Briana Bettin

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host CS and CLS Assistant Professor Dr. Briana Bettin at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum Monday (November 14) from 2:00pm to 3:00pm in Meese 109 and via Zoom.

Briana Bettin is an assistant professor of both computer science and cognitive and learning sciences. She received her master’s in human-computer interaction from Iowa State University and her bachelor’s and Ph.D. in computer science from Michigan Tech. Her research blends user experience methodologies with education research to better understand programming students and the impacts of the classroom environment.

Abstract: Our increasingly digital society requires citizens to effectively communicate about and with computing technologies to thrive. All too often, these technologies impacting our lives are suggested to be apolitical, while details of their design – including their limitations – are obfuscated, ignored, or considered inevitable. Navigating the world of computing and digital landscapes already poses a variety of challenges which can make new obstacles, “glitches”, and outcomes feel insurmountable. Coupled with stereotypical notions suggesting increased difficulty and limited societal impacts of computing and programming, learners of all ages and skills can easily become frustrated and discouraged from learning skills and topics necessary for today’s society. 

This talk explores the need for and explorations toward increasing awareness, understanding, and agency toward computing as a crucial component of modern society. From learning to code to understanding data collection, opportunities abound to transform learner relationships with computing material. Empowering learners to communicate confidently about computing gives them the power through language to begin critically analyzing and reimagining these technologies. With technology demystified and new pathways opened, learners may feel more capable to advocate for and/or create change. This approach to agency formation draws from theories of “punk DIY subculture”, positing that “punk programmers” might be defined as individuals who recognize faulty societal norms in technology design, and “DIY” approaches to subvert them. By toppling barriers to entry, giving learners a voice, and inspiring agency, more “punk programming pedagogy” may play a key part in reimagining the multifaceted possibilities of our sociotechnical futures.

ACSHF Forum: Robert Gutzwiller

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host Dr. Robert Gutzwiller (Arizona State University) at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors Forum on Monday (Oct. 31) from 2-3 p.m. via Zoom only.

Title:
Do Cyber Attackers Suffer From Decision-Making Biases?

ABSTRACT:
We report on whether cyber attacker behaviors contain decision making biases. Data from a prior experiment were analyzed in an exploratory fashion, making use of think-aloud responses from a small group of red teamers. The analysis provided new observational evidence of traditional decision-making biases in red team behaviors (confirmation bias, anchoring, and take-the-best heuristic use). These biases may disrupt red team decisions and goals, and simultaneously increase their risk of detection. Interestingly, at least part of the bias induction may be related to the use of cyber deception. Future directions include the development of behavioral measurement techniques for these and additional cognitive biases in cyber operators, examining the role of attacker traits, and identifying the conditions where biases can be induced successfully in experimental conditions

CLS at Human Factors & Ergonomics Society International Annual Meeting

Michigan Tech was well represented at the HFES International Annual Meeting held in Atlanta, GA last week. CLS faculty in attendance were Kelly Steelman, Susie Amato-Henderson, and Briana Bettin (CLS/CS), along with ACSHF graduate students Tauseef Mamun, Lamia Alam, Lauren Monroe, and Nishat Alam.

Mamun co-chaired the session “Human AI Robot Teaming (HART)” and presented his research “Assessing Satisfaction in and Understanding of a Collaborative Explainable AI (CXAI) System through User Studies” conducted with Lamia Alam and Shane Mueller (CLS) and Robert Hoffman (IHMC).

Amato-Henderson co-chaired the session “COVID-19 Pandemic and Remote/Hybrid Learning – Education” and presented her research with Jon Sticklen (EF) “The Relationship between Teaming and Sense of Connection in a First-Year Engineering Program”.

Monroe presented her research “The Effects of Varying Music Tempo on Vigilance Performance and Affective State” conducted with Samantha Smith (CLS)

Bettin (CLS/CS) presented her research “Identifying and Addressing Risks in the Early Design of a Sociotechnical System through Premortem” conducted with Kelly Steelman (CLS), Charles Wallace (CS), Dana Pontious (CLS), and Elizabeth Veinott (CLS).

ACSHF Forum: Grad Student Presentations

The Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences will host ACSHF students Lisa Casper and Betsy Lehman at the next Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors forum Monday (October 17) from 2:00pm to 3:00pm in Meese 109 and via Zoom.

Lisa Casper will present her research titled “Does Design Thinking Support Innovation: Empirical Evaluation

Abstract: Design thinking (DT) is a tool to support team innovation however, few empirical studies have examined it. In this study, we experimentally compared the effect of two approaches for DT ideate brainstorming on the number of ideas generated and the perceived innovativeness of those ideas.  As part of a semester-long DT project, 145 participants comprising 48 teams were challenged to develop an innovative solution for one of 17 United Nations sustainability goals (https://sdgs.un.org/goals).  Half of the teams engaged in a standard DT brainstorming ideation process, while the other half participated in an experimental brainstorming condition. Participants generated ideas and provided subjective ratings of the process and their team’s solution. Ideas were content-coded on several dimensions by two independent raters.  We found that teams in the DT experimental brainstorming techniques condition generated almost 58% more ideas than those in the DT baseline condition in the same amount of time, but their ideas were not rated as more innovative. What these data suggest for innovation and conducting research on innovation will be discussed.

Betsy Lehman will present her research titled Counterfactual Thinking as a Strategy for Questioning a Frame: Experimental Results

Abstract: Understanding how people make sense of situations and question the theories they hold may be critical in many circumstances, from communicating about climate change to improving DEI at work. Questioning a perspective is assumed to be a precursor to changing it (Klein et al., 2007), yet the research on the questioning process is limited. In a previous study, we found that factors involved in counterfactual thinking (Roese & Olson, 1995), mutability of the situation and ease of generating counterfactuals, appeared highly relevant in the sensemaking process. In the present experiment, we tested this effect by manipulating ease of generation and a mutability focus strategy. This research focuses on understanding the mechanisms of perspective shifting to support applications such as programs to reduce implicit bias.