Perceptual Control and Human Data Fusion
Outline: Human Data Fusion
1. Introduction to concepts of Perceptual Control Theory.
This report is an annotation of slides used in a presentation to the Joint Directors of Laboratories seminar on Data Fusion, at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, June 14, 1993. It considers the data fusion problem from the viewpoint of a psychological theory called Perceptual Control Theory (PCT), initially proposed about 40 years ago by W. T. Powers (ref: Behavior—the control of perception, Aldine, 1973). PCT seems well suited to the analysis of Command and Control systems, and to the data fusion issues that arise in C2 systems.
The fifth section of the talk was prepared for delivery, but was not presented. The slides and annotations are, however, included in this report.
Why consider Human Perception?
The problem facing a military commander is very like the problem faced by any biological organism—the effective and efficient use of resources in an environment that contains competitors and enemies, as well as opportunities. Over the long period of evolution, biological organisms have developed very effective techniques for dealing with the challenges of life, and it may be very helpful to the military to understand something of these techniques and their possible application to C2 systems.
The central fact of life is that an organism has no information about the state of the world, its threats and its opportunities, except what it acquires through its sensor systems and converts into its perceptions. A biological organism, such as a human being, incorporates a first-class data fusion system.