Assessing Cross-Cultural Competence

The Cross-Cultural Assessment Tool (C-CAT) is a computer-based program that assesses cross-cultural competence. The C-CAT's development was preceded by research developing a cultural competence stage model that describes affective, behavioral and cognitive competence from general, to task-oriented, to mission-centric performance, and is based on the mission demands of Army Soldiers in cross-cultural environments. The model was applied across Army mission sets, modified and validated. Assessment methodologies including self-report measures, situational judgment tests, and scenarios, along with the model served as the basis for the C-CAT, which provides customized, usable feedback regarding cross-cultural competence, based on rank and MOS. C-CAT is currently being used by the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School (JFKSWCS) within cultural training curricula and by the Army ROTC to assess the impact of their overseas immersion programs.

Training Cross-Cultural Skills

CultureGear is a three-year project sponsored by the Office of Naval Research developing an online training tool that will promote culture-general assessment, perspective taking and analysis skills in Special Forces Soldiers and junior Warfighters. Today's Soldier needs to develop skills and abilities that apply across cultural boundaries; hence our project's focus on general cross cultural competence - the ability to immediately adjust and adapt to unfamiliar cultural settings to achieve mission success. We have conducted Cognitive Task Analyses (CTA) with cultural experts and small unit leaders to identify the critical cognitive tasks related to mission success in cross-cultural environments, and to use this information to mold and shape the structure and content of the training. Based on our ongoing research, we have incorporated an assessment module within CultureGear to ascertain differing starting points determined by each user's proficiency level in cultural competence. Each person will receive customized feedback on their individual strengths and weaknesses and be guided to specific areas of the tool where they can address these weaknesses and learn how to best leverage their cultural strengths. We are currently working with the cultural trainers at JFKSWCS in Fort Bragg and multiple USMC entities who will serve as both testbeds and end users.

Multi-Cultural Perspective Taking

At this point, very little research has focused on the process of comprehending events as those of other cultures may perceive them. Warfighters in the contemporary operating environment must be able to understand the perspectives of those with whom they are interacting in foreign countries to better appreciate and influence those within these cultures. This ability, referred to as multicultural perspective taking (MPST), can support Warfighters in more accurately interpreting, understanding and predicting the actions and attitudes of others. In order to develop effective assessment and training tools that address MPST, the research community must first have a valid, research-based model of the MPST process.

In this effort, our research team has leveraged our databases containing hundreds of examples of incidents provided by soldiers in which cross-cultural interaction was critical for mission success. We examined incidents in which MPST played a key role and, in conjunction with a thorough review of the PST literature, developed an initial theoretical model of the MPST process. We then used a wide variety of interviewing techniques (simulation interviews, team ranking tasks, and critical incident elicitation) that was tailored to fill any gaps in the model. These results were used to refine our theoretical model, which led to a testable model of the MPST process. Our next step is to conduct a validation study using soldiers E3-O4 in rank who have had a wide variety of experiences in cross-cultural settings. Once this model has been validated, it will serve as a foundation from which trainers will be able to design effective, cognitively authentic MPST training. The model will also provide guidance to soldiers on how to shape their operational environments in order to promote the occurrence of effective and accurate MPST.

Individualized Assessment

In the contemporary operating environment the mission of today's Soldier extends beyond conventional warfare; in addition to fighting insurgents, locating weapon caches, patrolling and providing security, Soldiers are often required to engage in non-kinetic activities such as negotiating with local population leaders or conducting infrastructure projects To meet these new mission requirements, it is vital that Soldiers be able to accurately interpret cross-cultural encounters across cultural boundaries, and then choose appropriate actions based on their observations. In this effort sponsored by the Army Research Institute we are developing an understanding of how mission-effective Soldiers uncover cultural information through direct observation of cultural interactions and the individual and situational factors that can impact this ability. This understanding will serve as the basis for the development of a deception-resistant, multi-method instrument that assesses a Soldier's ability to assess unfamiliar cultures through direct observation.

Intelligence Analysis Cognitive Demands

Decision aids and user interfaces are needed that support analysts in optimally exploiting intelligence datasets, and these supports must be based on the actual cognitive demands of the analysts. Within this AFRL-sponsored Phase II SBIR effort to support the development of future technologies, staffing, and roles/functions within Air Force intelligence analysis cells, 361 Interactive and UDRI are currently conducting an initial analysis of the cognitive demands faced by WAMI analysts. The research team is conducting cognitive interviews with returning WAMI analysts as well as SIGINT analysts and cell leadership (OICs and Lead Analysts). The research team also participated in WAMI analyst pre-deployment training. PED cell roles and functions are being identified along with associated challenging decisions and associated critical cues, information sources, common errors, sources of uncertainty, customer interactions, and effective analysis strategies.

Wide Area Motion Imagery Analysis

Working with our partners, UDRI and PSS, 361 Interactive conducted a cognitive analysis of the introduction of WAMI data into the GEOINT's toolkit. The goal of this feasibility effort was to study how WAMI data might be integrated into existing capabilities to improve the performance of Air Force intelligence FMV analysts. Cognitive Task Analysis (CTA) interviews were conducted with experienced FMV analysts to gain an understanding of current analysis operations, including roles, typical missions, tools, job demands, and challenges. In addition, a simulation interview was developed based on a real-world WAMI data set, and including a range of cognitive mission challenges as derived through CTA interviews. Based on these interviews, initial user interface (UI) and automation concepts to assist an analyst in exploiting WAMI data were developed. UI components were based on ecological interface design principles to facilitate real-time monitoring of unfolding situations and after-the-fact incident investigations.

LADAR Combat Identification

In this recently-completed, AFRL-sponsored Phase I research effort (subsequently selected for a Phase II award), 361 Interactive developed an envisioned world simulation interview methodology leveraging real-world LADAR and high-resolution imagery datasets combined with cognitive task analysis probes to study how analysts can optimally make use of LADAR data and integrate it with other intelligence sources to support customer needs. In the simulation, analysts could control the two data sources (EO and LADAR) while performing a range of real-world tasking, including route planning, IED threat assessment, combat identification, and force protection analysis. Envisioned challenges, analysis strategies, and potential expanded capabilities were identified that can serve as the basis for analysis support concepts. A review of existing LADAR and other 3D data exploitation technologies and research efforts also informed concept development.

Integrated Intelligence Analysis

Today's intelligence analysts are faced with the ever-growing challenge of integrating multiple, disparate data sets into clear, coherent, and actionable products to support a variety of customer needs. We have begun work on a new AFRL-sponsored Phase I SBIR to apply recent advances in macrocognitive theory to develop and conduct a multifaceted analysis of the cognitive demands associated with the development of integrated intelligence products. We will employ a combination of recently developed envisioned world simulation interview techniques along with novel, macrocognitive elicitation techniques to identify the cognitive demands associated with effective integration. We will also develop candidate effectiveness measures that truly reflect those demands. These findings will directly inform enhancements to existing technologies within multiple intelligence cells at the National Air and Space Intelligence Center as well as the development of novel proof-of-concept analyst-aiding technologies.

Analyst Training

The emergence of new technologies in the Air Force GEOINT analyst's arsenal of resources represents an evolutionary advance in potential real-time and forensic analysis capabilities, including more accurate and effective pattern of life development, more timely identification of insurgent networks and cells, and more accurate and targeted products for customers. But with these new capabilities come challenges. The ability to effectively exploit these datasets will be based on an analyst's abilities to understand important contextual factors of the operating environment and sift through massive datasets. Cognitively-based tools are needed to train analysts in optimally exploiting ISR datasets. The Cognitive Desktop Analyst Trainer (C-DAT) is an analyst-centric adaptive desktop trainer that supports intelligence analysts in better managing their ambiguous and time-critical tasking. Training module concepts support the following objectives: increasing awareness of the importance of understanding contextual factors for intelligence analysis, identifying significant patterns of life, and developing effective, expert-based strategies for making sense of ambiguous analysis tasks.

Drug Use Resistance Skills

This Phase II SBIR effort, sponsored by the National Institutes on Drug Abuse, studied the motivations of adolescents to engage in video game-based learning in addition to the effectiveness of aiding the development of skills to resist drug and alcohol abuse through an interactive video game. This effort led to the development of a video game entitled Life Challenges, which consisted of several mini-games embedded within an overall game show format.

Through interviews and focus groups, several critical features were identified that influence adolescents to engage in and maintain the use of prevention focused video games. 361 Interactive then developed a 40-hour video game-based curriculum, founded on teaching students to assume the perspectives of others in order to promote communication and self-management skills, which was found to indirectly reduce the likelihood of drug use.

Fit City

Another recently awarded Phase II SBIR effort, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, focused on developing a web-based virtual learning and gaming environment to support adolescents in better recognizing and proactively avoiding fitness-related health hazards faced in daily life.

The end result was an online "virtual city", entitled Fit City, where adolescents were given the option of engaging in self-directed or guided learning while they played informative games in a virtual arcade. The overall objective of Fit City was to combat the growing trend toward obesity through an innovative online environment that would educate and promote a greater understanding of this problem and advocate long-term behavioral changes.

You can take a look at FitCity by clicking here