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The Multitasking Myth (Ashgate Studies in Human Factors for Flight Operations) New edition Edition

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ISBN-13: 978-0754673828
ISBN-10: 0754673820
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Editorial Reviews


'The Multitasking Myth brings the real world of airline flying to aviation psychology, and the insights of aviation psychology to airline flying. The authors show how to design operational procedures that fit both the ways pilots think and the actual demands the system places on them. Anyone who works in, or worries about, high-consequence operations needs these concrete suggestions. If you want to know what airline flying is all about-and how to make it more efficient and safer-read this book!' Benjamin A. Berman, Former Chief, Major Investigations, U.S. National Transportation Safety Board 'A delightful and insightful book! "Multitasking" is a much misunderstood myth, yet it represents a critical underlying topic in human factors: how can people safely pursue multiple concurrent goals in cognitively noisy environments? The distance between the two images of work can be huge. The "ideal" as laid down in written guidance makes generous assumptions about the cohesiveness, linearity and time-reversibility of tasks-which often has little to do with the messiness of "actual" event-paced practice. Loukopoulos, Dismukes and Barshi have put together the research in a way that is not only readable and enjoyable, but practically useful and relevant as well. This is the kind of book where the rubber of research meets the road of practice-in all kinds of safety-critical domains.' Sidney W. A. Dekker, Lund University School of Aviation, Sweden 'This work could serve as a useful source for airline training courses and graduate human factors courses.' Choice, Col 46, No 11, 2009 'It is not often that one comes across a book that is interesting, tractable, expands our understanding about important concepts and issues, and has such obvious and useful application in real life. The Multitasking Myth is just such a book.' International Journal of Applied Aviation Studies Vol 9, No 1, 2009 'If you work in aviation and want to know more about task-switching, this book will be of interest to you.' Aerlines ezine July 2010

About the Author

Loukia Loukopoulos has a PhD in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and an Aerospace Experimental Psychology designation from the United States Navy. She served 6 years on active duty before becoming a Senior Research Associate at NASA Ames' Human Systems Integration Division. She currently resides in Athens, Greece where she is a human factors consultant to the Hellenic Air Accident Investigation and Aviation Safety Board and was a member of the team that investigated the Helios Airways accident in 2005. Dr. Loukopoulos is involved in a number of aviation human factors research and teaching activities, through the NASA Ames Research Center and the San Jose State University Research Foundation, the Hellenic Institute of Transport, and the Hellenic Air Force Safety School. Key Dismukes is Chief Scientist for Aerospace Human Factors in the Human Systems Integration Division at NASA Ames Research Center. His research addresses cognitive issues involved in the skilled performance of pilots and other experts, their ability to manage challenging situations, and their vulnerability to error. Current research topics include prospective memory (remembering to perform deferred intentions), management of attention in concurrent task performance, pilots' use of checklists and monitoring, and training crews to analyze their own performance. Previously, Dr. Dismukes was Director of Life Sciences at the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. He received his PhD in biophysics from Pennsylvania State University and conducted postdoctoral research at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health. He has published several books and numerous scientific papers in basic and applied psychology and neuroscience, and has written on the implications of science and social policy for the public. He holds airline transport pilot, B737 and Citation type, and glider instructor ratings. Immanuel Barshi is a Senior Principle Investigator in the Human Systems Integration Division at NASA Ames Research Center. His current research addresses cognitive issues involved in the skilled performance of astronauts, pilots, and flight/air traffic controllers, their ability to manage challenging situations, and their vulnerability to error. Among the topics investigated by his research group are spatial reasoning, decision making, risk assessment, communication, and skill acquisition and retention. The results of his work have been implemented in operational procedures and training programs in space, aviation, medicine, and nuclear facilities. Dr Barshi holds PhDs in Linguistics and in Cognitive Psychology. He has published papers in basic and applied psychology, linguistics, and aviation. He holds Airline Transport Pilot certificate with B737 and CE500 Type Ratings; he is also a certified flight instructor for airplanes and helicopters, with over 30 years of flight experience.

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Product Details

  • Series: Ashgate Studies in Human Factors for Flight Operations
  • Hardcover: 202 pages
  • Publisher: Ashgate; New edition edition (January 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754673820
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754673828
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,608,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By B. Berman on March 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
In The Multitasking Myth, we have a book that recognizes the challenges of high-tech, high risk operations in a world that demands near perfection. Using graphic examples from commercial airline operations, the authors show us where the problems lie, how to think about them, and what to do about them.

In modern technical society, pilots, doctors, nuclear plant operators - as well as automobile drivers, cell phone callers, and listeners to recorded music - spend much of their time managing complex user interfaces, displays, controls, and automation systems. Information bombards the person at the controls or keyboard. We are often trying to do more than one thing at a time (multitasking) because there are so many controls, devices, and information streams at our disposal and demanding our attention. In most domains and activities the high-tech equipment helps us to be more productive. In those having extremely adverse consequences for errors and failures, such as commercial aviation and medicine, the equipment has generally allowed us to operate more safely, as well.

That's the good news. However, The Multitasking Myth brings us the difficult news that goes along with it: the complexity of today's tasks and devices also introduce new sources of error and failure when they conflict with the inherent ways in which the human mind processes information. Indeed, we cannot change human cognitive limitations and vulnerabilities, so when our machines - and the procedures we use to operate them - don't match our minds, it is the machines and procedures that have to change. When the consequences of failure are severe, performance must be nearly perfect and the tasks absolutely have to match what the human can reliably do.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Clark on November 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Ashgate Studies in Human Factors for Flight Operations has released the latest title in a continuing series, The Multitasking Myth: Handling Complexity in Real World Operations by Dr. Key Dismukes, Dr. Loukia Loukopoulos and Dr. Immanuel Barshi. The authors discuss the results of recent research that delves into the performance of crews in dynamic environments and explores why even skilled crews can make mistakes when multitasking. Part of the problem is defined as gaps that exist between the ideal environment that is defined by flight operations policies and procedures, and the reality of complex and variable operations. The scientists, drawing from extensive experience gained as aerospace human factors researchers at NASA Ames, drill down into several critical phases of flight that include taxi, descent, approach and landing. During the course of their applied research they looked for markers that identified problem areas, and conducted analysis of concurrent task management and crew responses during these situations. What they discovered is that humans are not nearly as good at multitasking as previously assumed, and this should be taken into consideration when designing and conducting flight operation policy and procedures. On top of this, crews routinely underestimate their vulnerability to error. Timing of tasks and the character of a specific task also create unique memory and goal completion challenges for crews, and theses challenges can create safety significant issues when they are placed in the context of high tempo operations.Read more ›
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tarek Sardana on August 8, 2009
Format: Hardcover
"The Multitasking Myth" will certainly become a standard text book for all individuals involved in the aircraft accident and incident investigation environment. This manuscript sheds very interesting light on areas in human interaction in the flying environment that have not been particularly well analyzed or discussed before. This is accomplished through unprecedented access to current flight deck operations in many different scenarios. I found Chapter 5 particularly insightful in how concurrent task demands and crew response are analyzed and as an aircraft accident investigator, this analysis gave me a unique perspective on how multitasking could effect flight crew in even the most routine flight operations. I wish to congratulate the authors on their simply superior research and I highly recommend this text to be present on the book shelves of all who are particularly interested or involved in the mutlitasking environment of the aviation world.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Almudena Pérez on June 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Multitasking Myth clearly shows how vulnerable we all are. It is an easy read, even for non-experts in the field of flight operations, as it is full of real life observations. I believe it to be especially helpful to people who wish to get a better understanding of flight operations; in particular those investigating the causes of aircraft accidents.

The book is divided into four main parts:

The first, titled The Ideal, shows how manuals and simulator training can back up everything. In an ideal word everything is under control; as stated in the book, "tasks are linear, predictable and controllable".

The second part, The Real, illustrates how different the real world is. A reader, such as I, has the chance to see, with the aid of jump seat observations, how complex flight operations are and how pilots manage this complex environment. In their normal day-to-day work, pilots have to deal with interruptions, unexpected tasks and many other factors.

The third part, Analysis of Concurrent Task Demands and Crew Responses, highlights why mistakes are made. It gives the background leading up to these situations and explains how crews manage them, for the most part successfully. In most of the accident investigations in which I have taken part I could see each of the four typical situations detailed in the book.

The authors go beyond mere theory and in the final part, The Research Applied, make proposals for improving the safety of flight operations. (I particularly identified with this section as it is the area I work in, namely flight operation safety). Their work involved lengthy and detailed research and collaboration with operators, manufacturers, engineering department, etc...
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