The Skill Assumption: Over-Relicance on Perception Skills in Hazard Analysis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientific

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In the analysis of human performance and human error, considerable attention is given to the cognitive processes of actors involved in error or success scenarios. Even with awareness of hindsight bias, it takes effort to understand the actions of agents in later inspection of error scenarios. One such topic of heated discussion was the perceived poor performance of pilots in the two 737 MAX MCAS-related crashes in applying the “memory item” checklist pertaining to a runaway trim. In this paper, we argue that it is not so much the reproduction of the checklist that was lacking in these scenarios, but the trigger for even starting the checklist. Not only trim run-away problems, but several other issues likewise require an instant reaction from pilots, designated as “memory items”. Rasmussen’s simplified schematic for the “skill, rule and knowledge” taxonomy already provides the tools for properly analyzing this. The skill to provide the triggers for these reactions relies on pattern extraction from the available sensory input, and, importantly, it can only be learned in a valid training context. It is argued that re-appraisal of these items is needed, addressing explicitly the validity of the training environments that enable pilots to learn the required pattern recognition skills.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication21st International Symposium on Aviation Psychology
Place of PublicationPortland (OR)
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event21st International Symposium on Aviation Psychology - Virtual/online event , United States
Duration: 18 May 202121 May 2021
Conference number: 21


Conference21st International Symposium on Aviation Psychology
Abbreviated titleISAP 2021
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


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