Current Work Sites

U.S. Army Research Institute for the Behavioral & Social Sciences

Foundational Science Research Unit, Fort Belvoir, VA

The Foundational Science Research Unit has two goals:  1) Seek out and advance innovative mission-related basic research projects to expand the behavioral science base and to generate behavioral technologies and methodologies with potential for resolving Army problems in personnel performance and training and 2) manage the transition of basic research results to applied programs for use by the operational Army.  The Advanced Methods Team conducts research and development to understand and improve the acquisition and retention of individual and collective skills through the development of cutting-edge training technologies.

 

 

 

 

 

Nikki Blacksmith

School:
The George Washington University

Degree Program:
Ph.D., Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Dr. Nikki Blacksmith is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the US Army Research Institute (ARI) for Behavioral and Social Sciences. Dr. Blacksmith is working with the Foundational Science Research Unit (FSRU) investigating individuals’ tendency to engage in cognitive heuristics. The use of cognitive heuristics can impair reasoning and decision-making and can play a role in a wide range of military situations including routine decision-making and even life-and-death disasters.

In 2015, ARI partnered with the Nation Research Council (NRC) to develop a research agenda to address the goal of enhancing the military’s selection and placement process. To identify the necessary research areas that would inform the military on how to maximize efficiency, accuracy, and effective use of human capability measurement, ARI and NRC established the Committee on Measuring Human Capabilities: Performance Potential of Individuals and Collectives, which was comprised of carefully selected scientific experts. The Committee identified new predictor constructs that should be investigated, one of which included the tendency to engage in cognitive biases as a stable individual difference.

Dr. Blacksmith was brought on to the FSRU team to address this key recommendation by developing a research program on cognitive biases with an individual differences lens. Her research will stimulate an understanding of individual differences factors as well as contextual factors that lead to the use of cognitive heuristics and in turn poor or biased decisions.

Dr. Blacksmith holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Organizational Psychology from the George Washington University, an M.A. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, and a B.A. in Psychology and English from the University of Iowa.

Website:
www.nikkiblacksmith.com

 

 

 

 

 

Meredith Coats

School:
The George Washington University

Degree Program:
Ph.D., Industrial/Organizational Psychology

Joined us in June!

 

 

 

 

 

Samantha Karalus

School:
George Mason University

Degree Program:
Ph.D., Applied Developmental Psychology

 

 

 

 

 

Molly Kilcullen

School:
George Mason University

Degree Program:
M.A., Industrial/Organizational Psychology

I work at the Army Research Institute at Fort Belvoir, Virginia. Their mission is to maximize personnel readiness and combat effectiveness. I am primarily working with Cross-Cultural Competency (3C), which is essentially the knowledge and skills developed through training and experience that enable a Soldier to operate effectively in a culturally complex environment. Within the 3C topic, I am developing my own project involving Self-Efficacy and Cultural Awareness. I am also working with the Command Climate team to develop single-item measures to reduce survey fatigue. I have also been involved with other projects involving team cohesion and negative feedback reciprocity.

 

 

 

 

 

Katherine M. Rahill

School:
The Catholic University of America

Degree Program:
Ph.D., Psychology (Applied Experimental, Human Factors)

I am working on researching the validation of measurements for preference of learner control with technology-delivered training (e-learning) programs. By establishing a construct of valid learner preferences, we can determine additional measures of criterion-related validity that are predictive of training completion and performance. We are working to develop the framework for a feasible application that will be implemented into learning management systems and online training programs. This application will be used to track the use of online tools while capturing additional activity that cannot be measured through self-report. Our goal is to provide a better understanding of learner control, learner preference, engagement, and skill-based predictors of performance to optimize the overall effectiveness of e-learning and online training environments.

 

 

 

 

 

Ruhi Srinivasan

School:
Catholic University of America

Degree Program:
M.A., Human Factors

I am currently working on researching leader identity with Dr. Plemmons and Dr. Ruark. We are focusing on developing a taxonomy of leader identity and classifying the roles leaders assign to themselves and how these roles change over time. I am also working on a project that examines the influence of home life on the work-leader role.