Meeting New Cognitive Demands
in Technological Systems
Kathleen L. Mosier and Shane T. McCauley
Examinations of human judgment have historically been aligned with one of two theoretical perspectives on the nature of truth—the correspondence approach or the coherence perspective—each characterized by different models and methods for defining, testing, and assessing the quality of judgment processes. Many of the previous chapters demonstrate that valuable insights into cognition and performance can be gained by viewing them as geared toward adapting to the demands of technological ecologies; that is, in making judgments and decisions in correspondence with the environment. These studies, it must be noted, focus primarily on the correspondence mode of judgment, as originally described by Brunswik and subsequently elaborated by Hammond (e.g., 1966, 1996).
Within a correspondence framework, the goal of cognition is empirical, objective accuracy in human judgment; correspondence competence refers to an individual's ability to accurately perceive and respond to multiple fallible indicators in the environment (e.g., Brunswik, 1943; 1956; Hammond, 1996). Correspondence is a relatively natural, adaptive process; humans “exercise … correspondence judgments almost instantaneously without thinking, just as we correctly perceive the world around us without thinking, without making strong, conscious demands on memory” (Hammond, 2000, p. 35). Correspondence competence has evolved in response to the necessity of being accurate in our judgments of the current and future state of our environment. We live in a correspondence-driven world, a domain in which the actual state of the world imposes constraints on our interactions within it (e.g., Vicente, 1990). The measure of correspondence competence is the accuracy of the judgment, that is, how well it corresponds to fact.
Brunswik's lens model offers a classic description of the correspondence process (1943, 1956). According to this model, judgments of people and objects are based on “probabilistic cues,” or attributes that can be perceived by an individual and are used to evaluate elements in the environment (e.g., Hammond, 2000; Hammond & Stewart, 2001). The degree of relatedness between cues and their criterion is referred to as ecological validity; and the accuracy of judgment is referred to as functional achievement. The model has been applied in a variety of contexts, including those described in this volume (see also Cooksey, 1996, for a review). The lens model, like other correspondence theories (e.g., social judgment theory, Hammond, 1966,