Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A Theory of False Cognitive Expectancies in Airline Pilots
by Cortes, Antonio I., Ph.D., Northcentral University, 2011, 232; 3492476
Abstract (Summary)

The Theory of False Cognitive Expectancies was developed by studying high reliability flight operations. Airline pilots depend extensively on cognitive expectancies to perceive, understand, and predict actions and events. Out of 1,363 incident reports submitted by airline pilots to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Aviation Safety Reporting System over a year's time, 110 reports were found to contain evidence of 127 false cognitive expectancies in pilots. A comprehensive taxonomy was developed with six categories of interest. The dataset of 127 false expectancies was used to initially code tentative taxon values for each category. Intermediate coding through constant comparative analysis completed the taxonomy. The taxonomy was used for the advanced coding of chronological context-dependent visualizations of expectancy factors, known as strands, which depict the major factors in the creation and propagation of each expectancy. Strands were mapped into common networks to detect highly represented expectancy processes. Theoretical integration established 11 sources of false expectancies, the most common expectancy errors, and those conspicuous factors worthy of future study. The most prevalent source of false cognitive expectancies within the dataset was determined to be unconscious individual modeling based on past events. Integrative analyses also revealed relationships between expectancies and flight deck automation, unresolved discrepancies, and levels of situation awareness. Particularly noteworthy were the findings that false expectancies can combine in three possible permutations to diminish situation awareness and examples of how false expectancies can be unwittingly transmitted from one person to another. The theory resulting from this research can enhance the error coding process used during aircraft line oriented safety audits, lays the foundation for developing expectancy management training programs, and will allow researchers to proffer hypotheses for human testing using flight simulators.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Singh, Daljit
School: Northcentral University
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 73/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Management, Aerospace engineering, Occupational psychology, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Expectancy, Expectation, High-reliability, Human error, Pilots, Situation awareness
Publication Number: 3492476
ISBN: 978-1-267-11530-0
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