An Application of Bayes Theorem as a Hypothesis-Selection Aid in a Complex Information-Processing System

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Report Number: AMRL TDR 64-51
Author(s): Southard, Jack F., Schum, David A., Briggs, George E.
Corporate Author(s): Laboratory of Aviation Psychology
Laboratory: Behavioral Sciences Laboratory
Date of Publication: 1964-08
Pages: 68
Contract: AF 33(657)-10763
DoD Project: 7184
DoD Task: 718403
Identifier: AD0607256

The first of a series of experiments investigating the value of automated hypothesis-evaluation aids in multimanmachine systems devoted to assessing or diagnosing threat is described. In the experiment, an eight-man team evaluated threats posed by a hypothetical aggressor. The team made these evaluations on the basis of intelligence information gathered during simulated reconnaissance overflights of aggressor's territory. The primary output of the threat-evaluation team was the commanding officer's posterior probabilities estimates as to aggressor's most likely hostile strategies. During half of the experimental trials, the commander had access to computer-produced posterior probabilities based upon a modification of the Bayes Theorem. The major experimental issue was whether or not these would aid the commander in his hypothesis evaluation. Also investigated was the effect of data-processing load upon system operation. Although some improvement in the posterior probabilities estimates resulted from the commander's having access to the hypothesis-evaluation aid and this improvement became more pronounced as system load increased, the main-order effect of access to the aid was not found to be statistically significant.

Provenance: RAF Centre of Aviation Medicine

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