How Humans Think When They Think As Part of a Group

After several days conducting military drills off the coast of California, the USS Palau was headed home. The massive aircraft carrier, large enough to transport 25 helicopters, was steaming into San Diego Harbor at a brisk clip. Inside the pilothouse—located on the navigation bridge, two levels up from the flight deck—the mood was buoyant. Members of the crew would soon be disembarking and enjoying themselves on shore. Conversation turned to where they would go for dinner that night. Then, suddenly, the intercom erupted with the voice of the ship’s engineer.

“Bridge, Main Control,” he barked. “I am losing steam drum pressure. No apparent cause. I’m shutting my throttles.”

A junior officer, working under the supervision of the ship’s navigator, moved quickly to the intercom and spoke into it, acknowledging, “Shutting throttles, aye.” The navigator himself turned to the captain, seated on the port side of the pilothouse. “Captain, the engineer is losing steam on the boiler for no apparent cause,” he repeated.

Everyone present knew the message was urgent. Losing steam pressure effectively meant losing power throughout the ship. The consequences of this unexpected development soon made themselves evident. Just 40 seconds after the engineer’s report, the steam drum had emptied, and all steam-operated systems ground to a halt. A high-pitched alarm sounded for a few seconds; then the bridge fell eerily quiet, as the electric motors in the radars and other devices spun down and stopped.

But losing electrical power was not the full extent of the emergency. A lack of steam meant the crew had no ability to slow the ship’s rate of speed. The ship was moving too fast to drop anchor. The only way to reduce its momentum would have been to reverse the ship’s propeller—operated, of course, by steam. On top of that, loss of steam hobbled the crew’s ability to steer the ship, another consequence that soon became painfully evident. Gazing anxiously out over the bow of the ship, the navigator told the helmsman to turn the rudder to the right ten degrees. The helmsman spun the wheel, but to no effect.

see
Our site
read the article
next page
look at this now
find out
Read Full Report
see here now
visit here
click here to find out more
why not check here
her response
published here
check
discover this
from this source
basics
read what he said
visit the site
browse around this web-site
visit this site
link
click for source
click this link now
blog
why not look here
more information
look at these guys
site link
helpful hints
pop over to this web-site
go to my site
see this page
browse around this website
view website
my sources
webpage
Discover More Here
Learn More Here
company website
click for info
Read Full Article
his response
click over here
take a look at the site here
more tips here
helpful resources
check out this site
look at this website
have a peek at this site
the original source
Continue
visit our website
visit this website
go to this website
pop over here
Home Page
Recommended Reading
these details
advice
try these out
check my reference
her comment is here
useful link
Resources
hop over to here
click this link here now
blog link
Continue eading
Click Here
Clicking Here
Go Here
Going Here
Read This
Read More
Find Out More
Discover More
Learn More
Read More Here
Discover More Here

“Sir, I have no helm, sir!” he exclaimed.

The helm did have a manual backup system: two men sweating in a compartment in the stern of the ship, exerting all their might to move the unyielding rudder even an inch. The navigator, still gazing out over the bow, whispered, “Come on, damn it, swing!” But the 17,000-ton ship sailed on—headed for the crowded San Diego Harbor, and now veering far off its original course.

Watching all of this unfold on that day in 1984 was Edwin Hutchins. Hutchins was a psychologist employed by the Naval Personnel Research and Development Center in San Diego. He had boarded the Palau as an observer conducting a study of the cognitive demands of ship navigation, taking notes and tape-recording conversations. Now the ship was roiled by a crisis—a “casualty,” in the crew’s lingo—and Hutchins was along for the ride.

From his corner of the pilothouse, Hutchins looked over at the crew’s leader. The captain, he noted, was acting calm, as if all this were routine. In fact, Hutchins knew, “the situation was anything but routine”: “The occasional cracking voice, a muttered curse, the removal of a jacket that revealed a perspiration-soaked shirt on this cool spring afternoon, told the real story: the Palau was not fully under control, and careers, and possibly lives, were in jeopardy.”

Hutchins was aboard the ship to study a phenomenon he calls “socially distributed cognition,” or the way people think with the minds of others. In a book that grew out of his experience on the Palau, Cognition in the Wild, he wrote that his goal was to “move the boundaries of the cognitive unit of analysis out beyond the skin of the individual person and treat the navigation team as a cognitive and computational system.” Such systems, Hutchins added, “may have interesting cognitive properties of their own.” Faced with a predicament that no single mind could resolve, the socially distributed cognition of the Palau’s crew was about to be put to the test.