News ItemsI/ITSEC 2017 Best Paper-HPAE

I/ITSEC 2017 Best Paper-HPAE

Aptima’s Dr. Lisa Lucia lead author on HPAE Subcommittee Best Paper of 2017

Training Award also qualified paper for consideration for overall I/ITSEC 2017 Best Paper

Aptima, Inc. is pleased to congratulate Dr. Lisa Lucia as lead author on the paper selected by the I/ITSEC 2017 Human Performance Analysis And Engineering (HPAE) Subcommittee as its Best Paper of 2017. Assessing Submariners’ Intuitive Decision-Making Skills Using Neurocognitive Methods was co-authored by Dr. Jeff Beaubien of Aptima, Ms. Natalie Steinhauser of the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD), and CAPT Ronald Steed (USN, ret.) of UpScopeConsulting Group, LLC. Recognition as Best Paper in the HPAE section qualified it as a Nominee for overall Best Paper of I/ITSEC 2017.

Best Paper Nominees - I/ITSEC 2017
Lisa Lucia (3rd from left), Jeff Beaubien (4th from left), Natalie Steinhaueser (3rd from right), and Ron Steed (not pictured).

The annual Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference (I/ITSEC) showcases simulation, education, modeling and training technology for the exchange of information among industry, the military, and the educational communities. I/ITSEC’s Best Paper Committee is composed of representatives from government, industry, and academia. Each subcommittee selects its own best paper, and then those papers are considered for the overall I/ITSEC Conference Best Paper Award. The Best Paper committee then selects the winner from the best paper nominations submitted by the Education, Emerging Concepts and Innovation technologies, Human Systems Engineering, Policy Standards Management and Acquisition, Simulation, and Training Subcommittees. The committee uses defined criteria in the evaluation of the nominated papers for the selection of the best overall paper winner for that year’s I/ITSEC. The selection of the best paper represents the culmination of the I/ITSEC  Conference, and to be nominated is considered an honor in the industry. The winner of the Best Paper Award and five finalists are then announced at the I/ITSEC closing ceremony.


Military missions pose complex cognitive and perceptual challenges, such as detecting potential improvised explosive devices along the roadside, or detecting anomalous social cues in a crowded market that may suggest an impending attack. Situations such as these do not allow time for extensive deliberation; rather, the ability to make quick and accurate decisions is key to survival. Evans and Stanovich (2013) suggest that, unlike deliberate decision-making, this type of intuitive decision-making is extremely fast and requires little or no working memory. Research has shed light on the neural mechanisms underlying intuitive decision-making. For example, Luu and colleagues (2010) used electroencephalography (EEG)-based techniques to identify a neural signal of intuition during an object detection task. In their study, participants viewed fragmented line drawings and indicated whether each image contained a real object. Participants’ event-related potentials (ERPs) differed between correctly identified real objects and correctly rejected non-objects after ~200 milliseconds (ms) and this difference persisted through ~500 ms. The purpose of the current study was to examine the generalizability of this neural signal with a military sample performing both everyday decision tasks (object detection) and military-relevant tasks (course safety decisions). Twenty-seven submariners participated in a rigorously-controlled, within-subjects experiment. Statistical analyses of the participants’ brain activity confirmed that the neural signal identified by Luu and colleagues generalizes across tasks. Moreover, this
signal reliably differentiates expert submariners from novices. This study is unique in that it validated the existence of a neural indicator of accurate intuitive decision-making across both samples and tasks.

For more information about this and Dr. Lucia’s other publications, please contact

About the Authors

Lisa C. Lucia, Ph.D. is a Scientist at Aptima, Inc., where she leads projects that involve the development of neuroscience-based training tools, decision support tools, and medical informatics systems. Her research interests span from the brain-bases of human perception and memory to visuospatial abilities and skill learning. She holds a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Tufts University, and a B.S. in Biological Psychology from Bates College.

Jeffrey M. Beaubien, Ph.D. is a Principal Scientist at Aptima, Inc., where he leads projects on training and human performance assessment. His research interests include team dynamics and decision-making. He holds a Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from George Mason University, a M.A. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from the University of New Haven, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island.

Ms. Natalie Steinhauser is a Senior Research Psychologist at the Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division (NAWCTSD) Basic and Applied Training and Technology for Learning and Evaluation (BATTLE) laboratory. She has 11 years of Navy experience conducting training effectiveness evaluations, developing intelligent tutoring systems, and conducting decision-making research. She holds a M.S. in Modeling and Simulation from the University of Central Florida, and a B.S. in Human Factors/Applied Psychology from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

CAPT Ronald Steed (USN, ret.) is the Principal at UpScopeConsulting Group, LLC where he serves on a variety of research and development projects involving command decision-making, submarine systems, team dynamics, and human factors. Mr. Steed transitioned from the U.S. Navy’s Submarine Force in 2007. His last assignment was as the Commander of Submarine Squadron Two in Groton, CT. Captain Steed holds a M.S. in Engineering Management from Old Dominion University, and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from The Citadel.