Naturalistic decision making

Jan Maarten Schraagen

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    Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM) has been variously described as a ‘movement’ (Klein, 2015), a ‘research community’ (Gore, Flin, Stanton, & Wong, 2015), a ‘framework’ (Klein, 2015, Lipshitz, Klein, Orasanu, & Salas, 2001), and a ‘perspective’ or ‘paradigm’ (Cannon-Bowers, Salas, & Pruitt, 1996). All of these labels are appropriate. As a movement, it originated in 1989 at a small invitation-only conference in Dayton, Ohio, just one year after the shootdown of an Iranian commercial airliner by a US Navy cruiser, the USS Vincennes. The researchers invited to the 1989 meeting were concerned about applying what was known from the then-existing research on decision making to applied, real-world contexts, such as the Vincennes tragedy. Their perception of the state of the art of decision making research at that time was that it mainly consisted of laboratory research in which novel tasks were used with inexperienced decision makers (mostly students) who were asked to make a choice among concurrently available alternatives. The findings of this body of research did not generalize to experienced decision makers who often had to make sense of a complex situation before committing themselves to a particular course of action. Thus, a movement was started that evolved into a research community that convened during biennial conferences alternating between the US and Europe. As a movement, then, NDM consists of applied researchers who are interested in how professionals make decisions in real-world situations, with the goal of supporting these professionals through decision aiding and training. The word ‘naturalistic’ in NDM therefore refers to real-world situations, as contrasted with laboratory situations, rather than ‘natural situations’ in the sense of ‘taking place in nature’.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationInternational Handbook of Thinking and Reasoning
    EditorsLinden J. Ball, Valerie A. Thompson
    Place of PublicationLondon
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)9781317534761
    ISBN (Print)9781138849303
    Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2017


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