Option Awareness (OA) is a person’s deep understanding of their options — including how those options perform over time and under different circumstances.
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It is always hard to make a good decision without knowing what’s going on — without Situation Awareness (SA). In situations where it’s easy to mentally translate “what’s going on” into “what to do about it”, having good SA is enough to make a good decision about what to do next.
As situations become more complex, time-pressured, and uncertain, decision makers need both SA and Option Awareness (OA) — knowledge of “what to do about it”.
MITRE has developed and evaluated principles and methods for increasing people’s OA and applied them in domains including crisis management, healthcare, command and control, and many others. These are the main steps:
1. Obtain Forecast Models
You need at least one method of estimating future outcomes for different actions you could take, but the more the better.
2. Generate Decision Spaces
We call the collection of estimated outcomes for different options, over a range of plausible future conditions, a “decision space”.
3. Visualize Interactive Decision Spaces
Interactive Decision Space Visualizations (DSVs) empower people to explore and interrogate the decision space, helping them not only better understand their current options but develop even better ones.
Since 2008, the OA team has authored more than two dozen publications on topics spanning OA theory and principles, experimental research, and applications to real-world problems.
Providing an option awareness basis for naturalistic decision making
Klein, G. L., Drury, J. L., & Pfaff, M. S. (2011). Providing an option awareness basis for naturalistic decision making. Cognitive Technology, 16(2), 10-19.
Reimagining SA and OA for human-machine teaming
Drury, J. L., Klein, G. L., Booker, L., Ryall, K., & Dubrow, S. (2022). Reimagining situation awareness and option awareness for human-machine teaming. 2022 IEEE Conference on Cognitive and Computational Aspects of Situation Management (CogSIMA), 9–15.
Crowdsourcing mental models using DESIM
Pfaff, M. S., Drury, J. L., & Klein, G. L. (2015). Crowdsourcing mental models using DESIM (Descriptive to Executable Simulation Modeling). Paper presented at the Naturalistic Decision Making Conference, McLean, VA.
Patient empowerment with shared decision spaces
Pfaff, M. S., Darling, E., Drury, J. L., & Klein, G. L. (2014). Patient empowerment with shared decision spaces. In Procedia Technology: HCIST 2014 – International Conference on Health and Social Care Information Systems and Technologies (Vol. 16, pp. 1477-1486).
DSV: Lessons learned and design principles
Drury, J. L., Pfaff, M. S., Klein, G. L., & Liu, Y. (2013). Decision space visualization: Lessons learned and design principles. In M. Kurosu (Ed.), Proceedings of the 15th HCI International 2013, Part IV (Vol. 8007, pp. 658-667). Berlin: Springer.
Requirements for data mining the decision space
Drury, J. L., Klein, G. L., Musman, S., Liu, Y., & Pfaff, M. S. (2012). Requirements for data mining the decision space. Paper presented at the 17th International Command and Control Research and Technology Symposium (ICCRTS), Fairfax, VA.
MITRE’s Option Awareness research has produced an evolving line of software tools for crowdsourcing collective expertise and providing interactive decision space visualizations. Contact us for more information!
A methodology and software toolkit for crowdsourcing expert knowledge on complex topics as a basis for simulating option outcomes.
Configurable general-purpose Web-based decision space visualization tool for exploring complex decision-making scenarios through interactive visualizations of option outcomes, from any data source.
Patient Decision Space
A webapp to improve collaborative OA during shared doctor-patient decision making by tailoring treatment options for a patient’s demography, preferences, and diagnosis.
Our work is supported by a diverse team of academic, technical, and operational experts at The MITRE Corporation and collaborating organizations.
MITRE develops innovative capabilities that empower decision makers and their teams to make high-quality decisions with speed, confidence, and impact.
Want to start a discussion or request a demo? Contact the OA team using the form below. We look forward to hearing from you!
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