Mount Lam Lam, Guam circa 2018

Encourage Confidence and Reduce Confusion



Ambiguity is a result of the detachment between human processing and responses that lead to original thought; however, it is in this ambiguity that meta-comprehension, or a person’s metacognitive ability to judge their own understanding and subsequent learning (Míguez-Álvarez et. al., 2021), by which prior knowledge manipulated by the working memory as discussed by Baddeley (2012) may be most affected. 

“Situation awareness (SA) theory, design, training, and measurement have formed a substantive portion of the human factors research field over the past 25 years” (Endsley,2015). 

By integrating the knowledge of how important language is to the creation of the situation awareness perceived by an individual, advancements in human-machine interfaces (HMI) would allow improvements in the usability of the functions now available in virtual reality as “several human factors issues became apparent in the development of the new controls and displays for VR [Virtual Reality] equipment” (Guastello, p. 304, 2013). By considering lexical priming and vibrational tones that excite learning, adaptive speech interfaces utilizing graphically responsive imagery delivered in patterned chunking could offer an opportunity for constructive research. 

Digital control stations such as airliner cockpits, power stations, and intensive care units must manage substantial amounts of data. Excessive display information can be distracting and even disorienting for users, nullifying the use of the human-machine interface (HMI). Without effective working memory triggers placed in locations congruent to methods of loci based on personality types, busy systems users must adapt before reacting (Goldstein, 2018). 

Due to operator response challenges, situational awareness is challenged. In organizations that service high-level functioning data processing such as intensive care units, this is a concern for human factors professionals. Disadvantages of allowing operator-focus-driven design include lack of synergy and human error situations leading to terminal situations. This can be considered using the human error views as discussed by Dr. Johan Bergström (2017) whereby errors in daily life can be considered as factors in managing high-risk processes. 

“Although SA [situational awareness] is sometimes derived through a conscious deliberative process to form an understanding of what is going on, it is also often based on a highly automatic process of situation recognition, using [the] schema of prototypical situations, that is dynamic and ongoing, whereas sensemaking is characterized as primarily of the conscious deliberative type” (Endsley, 2015).  

By creating interferences that result in distractions, users are less likely to reach the full potential of task event relation as time is a factor that limits the availability of information at influx thus, in turn, functionally affecting the expected versus actual output. In the example of an intensive care unit, a nurse focused on a computer patient file loading is less interactive with the reason why the patient requires care. Streamlining these digital control stations would enhance the human-centric design by allowing the focus to create a space for personalized mindfulness lending to the betterment of the species.  

To construct a research project to examine how to demonstrate this aspect of cognition, the specific research question is:  

“What systems design for training would encourage confidence and lessen confusion for trainees when transitioning from simulation to real-world experiential interaction?” 

Variables that influence semantic organization or retrieval of knowledge by the operators must be addressed, along with potential semantic knowledge deficits or categorization differences that appear across cultures creating disparate experiences on an individual level. These can include placement of visual displays, characters for conveying meaning, and colors used for warnings or other indications which can vary on a cultural and national level. For example, Hangul, the Korean alphabet, is read from left to right as in English but utilizes characters instead of letters. Some characters of the Korean language have similarities to English letters; however, the similarities cause confusion rather than clarity due to the prior knowledge associated with the shapes. On the other hand, the Persian and Chinese languages must be read from a different direction which can lead to operator confusion regarding the initiation of a sequence. 

Interference due to prior knowledge is an issue regarding systems consolidation as both language and meaning can occur on a retrograde in the physicality of the written construct itself, as well as the working memory manipulates received information as researched by Baddeley (2012) which lends to the formation of concepts (Goldstein, 2018). Prior knowledge is necessary to interact with the interface; however, the origin of the design is affected by the biases of the developer leading to situations such as the need for all pilots to speak English or substantial amounts of biased research due to the availability of subject matter (Boroditsky, 2018). 

Understanding that humans assimilate added information more slowly and may experience interference with prior knowledge must be a consideration of human factors professionals as globalization should consider culture life scripts that may affect users in any capacity from nationality to civilian versus military status (Goldstein, 2018). Variables such as language, culture, nation, and other colloquial idiosyncrasies influence the learning process in ways that are not yet understood. This leaves much to be considered in future research. 

Learning is the basis for all that is present. As a result, the research community has a profound fascination with understanding how the brain processes information in semantic episodes to utilize the working memory for creating neuroplastic movement leading to retention in long-term memory. By utilizing motor skills along with visual, auditory, and vibrational cues, the information stored in the nervous system that changes through “integrated processes of neuroplasticity” (Boyd, 2015) may be more readily available for immediate use. In understanding the event-related potential (ERP) at an individual level to create an allocated time for a human response that can be tailored specifically to the user, advancements in the reaction time for operators could be improved. 

To address biases as discussed by Boroditsky (2018), all major languages should be considered due to ambiguities of basic computer programming languages currently based on the English language as the initial neural network for a brain to learn may have been determined by another system of language. Basic computer psycholinguistics requires that users conform to human-machine interfacing (HMI) due to a lack of foresight in design where the “What is?” question may have been overlooked. In reviewing this area for improvements, the connections and dissociations can be reviewed for implementation as design enhancements regarding the human error in source monitoring (Goldstein, 2018). 

Stimuli responsible for interference stem from visual and auditory stressors; it is possible that stressors are also present due to changes in pressure and vibrational tones. A pilot versed in emergency protocol due to available simulation training on a prior incident, able to review the instruments in a full motion apparatus while being fed synchronized audio, would find usefulness in such training where situational awareness is a requirement for an ever-changing environment, especially when working to overcome prior knowledge in task-switching as referenced by Guastello (2013). Due to the presence of known cycles such as the circadian rhythm that create our sleep pattern to naturally re-energize the body as referenced by Guastello (2013), it is possible that other rhythms based on low-frequency vibrations and noise (LVFN) play into an audible rhythm that affect the discrimination index and sustained attention reflecting changes in the level of default mode network (DMN) activity, as well as the cognitive level of information being processed as low- or high-load image or perception. Research supports this hypothesis based on studies of transcranial magnetic stimulation as it “caused participants to respond more slowly, and that this slowing effect occurred both for perception and for imagery” (Goldstein, p. 310, 2018). 

Internal sustained attention has been researched in the Buddhist monk community showing that acuity and perceptual discrimination can improve vigilance on low-load tasks (LaBrie, 2014). It is possible that these interferences lead to automation bias which could take effect due to a low task load in the working memory without real-time information manipulation requirements. Through lexical priming, as noted by Goldstein (2018), patterned chunking could be integrated into simulated training sessions to allow healthy dissemination of information for dynamic memory processes to create imagery and perceptions that reduce “inefficient way[s] for a system to operate because too much storage can overload the system” (p. 243).  

It may be possible to utilize the “Bayesian inference” to improve the training systems based on personality requirements (Goldstein, p. 76, 2018). By integrating prior knowledge added to the mental chronometry of encoding, it may be possible to determine retrieval, which could then be factored by the misleading post-event information (MPI), to then reach a task event-related potential that would determine the best placement of icons that would serve as umbrella portals for major components (Goldstein, pp. 134, 244, 300). Using the idea of concentric circles and focused attention through the balance of internal and external sustained attention, the system could work on a rolling focus parameter rather than a voxelated platform. 


By improving the semantic memory interactions as noted in Goldstein’s text (2018) by accounting that new learners may have prior knowledge based on parameters not considered in the design, the ability to remain at stasis while utilizing the working memory in conjunction with the long-term memory may lead to an increased functional result of the user’s division and interaction of the sensory and procedural memories leading to live-experience response based on healthy stasis of external and internal sustained attention. Integration of cognitive concepts such as the Proust effect (p. 256) lends to a better design based on human factors when adding fidelity and complexity in these types of virtual training attempting to reinforce comprehension skills that will effectively translate directly to the actual working conditions while generating confidence and lessening confusion upon the occurrence of human error. 

Globalization focuses on the cooperation of cultures sharing ideas on how to best experience human existence to encourage the generation of original thought. It is with a human-centric design that future human-machine interfaces (HMI) should be based to ensure fidelity of long-term integration in support of improving meta-comprehension. 


Baddeley, A. (2012). A Lecture in Psychology: Working Memory: Theories, Models, and Controversies. Annual Reviews. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from A Lecture in Psychology: Working Memory: Theories, Models, and Controversies

Bergström, D. J. (2017). Two Views on Human Error. Lund University – Human Factors and Systems Safety. Retrieved December 4, 2022, from

Boroditsky, L. (2018). How language shapes the way we think. TED Talks. YouTube. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from  

Boyd, L. (2015). After watching this, your brain will not be the same. TEDx Vancouver. (14:24/YouTube). Retrieved November 27, 2022, from After watching this, your brain will not be the same. 

Endsley, M. R. (2015). Situation Awareness Misconceptions and Misunderstandings. Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, 9(1), 4–32. 

Goldstein, E. B. (2018). Cognitive psychology: connecting mind research and everyday experience (5th ed.). Wadsworth Cengage Learning. 

Guastello, S. J. (2013). Human factors engineering and ergonomics: A systems approach, second edition. Taylor & Francis Group. 

Fernandino, L. & Iacoboni, M. (2010). Are cortical motor maps based on body parts or coordinated actions? Implications for embodied semantics. (Vol. 112, Issue 1). 44-53. Brain and Language. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from

LaBrie, R. (2014). The Cognitive Neuroscience of Sustained Attention and Classical Mindfulness: Volume 1. YouTube. Retrieved November 27, 2022, from  
The Cognitive Neuroscience of Sustained Attention and Classical Mindfulness: Volume 1

Míguez-Álvarez, C., Cuevas-Alonso, M., and Cruz, M. (2021). The Relationship between Metacomprehension and Reading Comprehension in Spanish as a Second Language. Psicología Educativa, 28(1), 23 – 29. 


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