Reasoning on the basis of diverse, dynamic, and massive data is becoming a routine aspect of many jobs. This is particularly true for the intelligence analyst, who must gather and analyze ambiguous data, and communicate time-sensitive inferences and recommendations derived from these under stressful conditions. The question is can people be trained to improve these skills? If so, there is a need for proven methods that can help strengthen our ability to reason flexibly with complex information - in other words, fluid intelligence - to make smart people smarter!
The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), the research arm of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is funding a rigorous, high-quality research through a program called Strengthening Human Adaptive Reasoning and Problem-Solving (SHARP). The goal of SHARP is to advance the science on optimizing human adaptive reasoning and problem-solving, by testing and validating interventions that have the potential to significantly improve these abilities - with the goal of enhancing the cognitive performance of high-performing adults in information-rich environments.
Honeywell; Harvard University, Northeastern University, University of Oxford
One research team, headed by Honeywell asked Simcoach Games to design, develop and deliver a video game that would form a central component of their research intervention. The game, which places the player in the context of being a worker in a robot factory, was built from the ground up to engage fundamental cognitive processes that play a crucial role in fluid intelligence. Simcoach Games worked closely with leading experts from major commercial and academic research institutions to design a game closely aligned with current scientific theory but, also a game that would provide endless variety and entertainment over the span of several weeks of training.
"Simcoach Games brought three elements that impressed every member of our interdisciplinary research team: First, an unwavering focus on the intent behind the game - evident when it came to generating requirements that satisfied scientific constraints, or prolonged fine tuning of the game - to create an effective training intervention; second, the creative talent to create a delightful experience combining humor, delightful artwork, and deeply engaging themes; third, outstanding software engineering talent to implement the game iteratively, and fast - with a beautifully abstracted architecture that made it possible to adapt and improve the game iteratively and quickly from experience."