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Raytheon BBN Awarded $10.5 Million to Develop Game-Based Training Methods and Systems to Improve Decision-Making

Game-based training to reduce bias when analyzing information

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), through an Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) contract, has awarded Raytheon BBN Technologies a $10.5 million multi-year contract under the Sirius program. BBN is a wholly owned subsidiary of Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN). The goal of the Sirius program is to develop serious games that result in better decision-making by teaching participants to recognize and mitigate the effects of their own biases when analyzing information used to make decisions.  

Under the contract, Raytheon BBN will develop game-based training methods and training systems to improve such decision-making by focusing on reducing biases. The team -- which includes game designers, cognitive psychologists, and experts in intelligence analysis and in measuring game-player engagement -- will design a relevant and engaging game that is based on an international detective theme, blending best research and practices in bias-mitigation with best practices in game-based teaching. The training system will focus on six specific types of bias that frequently affect decision-making adversely:

  • Confirmation bias -- the tendency to search for or interpret information in a way that confirms preconceptions.
  • Blind spot bias -- being less aware of one's own cognitive biases than those of others.
  • Fundamental attribution error -- over-emphasizing personality-based or character-based effects on behavior.
  • Anchoring bias -- relying too heavily on one trait or one piece of information.
  • Representative bias -- judging the likelihood of a hypothesis by its resemblance to immediately available data.
  • Projection bias -- assuming others share one's current feelings, values or thinking.

Alice Leung, Ph.D. and Sirius co-principal investigator at Raytheon BBN, said, "This program is a perfect opportunity for us to apply our expertise in creating effective and engaging training to a very challenging problem. The ability to recognize biases and reduce their effects on human information analysis could lead to better decision-making in a wide variety of critical areas."    

"Additionally," said Talib Hussain, Ph.D. and Sirius co-principal investigator at Raytheon BBN, "the team will advance the science of game-based training by examining how various game design decisions impact training effectiveness. This forward-looking aspect of the Sirius program is very important because it will help us identify a more reliable set of design principles to build games that are effective for training a broad range of skills in the future."

About Raytheon

Raytheon Company, with 2010 sales of $25 billion, is a technology and innovation leader specializing in defense, homeland security and other government markets throughout the world. With a history of innovation spanning 89 years, Raytheon provides state-of-the-art electronics, mission systems integration and other capabilities in the areas of sensing; effects; and command, control, communications and intelligence systems, as well as a broad range of mission support services. With headquarters in Waltham, Mass., Raytheon employs 72,000 people worldwide. For more about Raytheon, visit us at www.raytheon.com and follow us on Twitter at @Raytheon.

Media Contact:

Joyce Kuzmin

SOURCE Raytheon Company

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