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[Situation awareness... (Notizen)]
« on: August 28, 2007, 11:28:56 AM »

[...] Das Wort Situation bezeichnet die "Lage", die Gebundenheit an Gegebenheiten oder Umstände, vor die jemand oder unter die ein Vorhaben oder eine Sache gestellt ist und die als konkrete Bedingungen die Möglichkeiten des Tuns oder Erleidens stellen und begrenzen, allgemein die Befindlichkeit in einer Umgebung, einem Zusammenhang oder einer Abhängigkeit (z.B. Dilemma, Sachzwang, Notlage).
Situation ist dabei stets "Situation von ...". Auch wenn "die Situation" ohne expliziten Bezug auf ein Subjekt genannt wird, ist sie auf ein Situiertes (Gelegenes, Gestelltes, Betroffenes) bezogen. Sie ist der zeitlich, räumlich oder persönlich-existenzial bestimmte Zusammenhang von Sachverhalten, in denen das Situierte steht. (Vom lateinischen situs ~ Stelle, Stellung, Sitz, jedoch erst im späten 16. Jhd. als Fremdwort in der Bedeutung geografische Lage, Lageplan, Gegend aus dem Französischen entlehnt.) Das Adjektiv situativ, als auf eine konkrete Situation bezogen, hat dabei auch einen Hang zum spontanen.

[...] In der Philosophie ist die Situation ein wichtiger Begriff etwa bei Martin Heidegger, Karl Jaspers, Kierkegaard und Sartre oder den Situationisten. Durch den Existentialismus bekam der Begriff eine subjektive Färbung. Situation meint den Menschen in der Welt. Demgegenüber beschreibt der Begriff Lage einen mehr objektiv vorhandenen Zusammenhang. Auch in der Phänomenologie von Husserl sind wichtige Überlegungen zum Situationsbegriff vorhanden.

Aus: "Situation" (08/2007)


[...] Situation awareness or situational awareness (SA) is the mental representation and understanding of objects, events, people, system states, interactions, environmental conditions, and other situation-specific factors affecting human performance in complex and dynamic tasks. Stated in lay terms, SA is simply “knowing what is going on so you can figure out what to do” (Adam, 1993). It is also “what you need to know not to be surprised” (Jeannot et al., 2003). Intuitively it is one's answers (or ability to give answers) to such questions as: What is happening? Why is it happening? What will happen next? What can I do about it?

[...] Cognitive hierarchy:

Endsley & Jones (1997) draw a parallel between Endsley's three levels of SA and the “cognitive hierarchy” of data–information–knowledge–understanding as suggested by Cooper (1995):

    "Data correlated becomes information. Information converted into situational awareness becomes knowledge. Knowledge used to predict the consequences of actions leads to understanding."

Endsley and Jones suggest that “knowledge” in this description equates to level 1 SA and “understanding” equates to levels 2 and 3 SA.

Despite presenting a hierarchic model of SA that is founded on the perception of environmental cues and raw data, Endsley (2000) also insists that SA is not entirely data-driven. Rather, the processes used to maintain SA alternate between data-driven (bottom-up) and goal-driven (top-down) processes (Endsley, 2000).

Situation assessment

Endsley (1995a) makes a distinction between situation awareness, "a state of knowledge," and situation assessment, "the processes used to achieve that knowledge." That is, situation assessment refers to the combination of processes involved in achieving and maintaining a situational mental model, while SA is the combined knowledge content of that model.

Note that SA is not only produced by the processes of situation assessment, it also drives those same processes in a recurrent fashion. For example, one’s current awareness can determine what one pays attention to next and how one interprets the information perceived (Endsley, 2000).


Somewhat confusingly, a slightly different use of the term SA has evolved in the military command and control (C2) arena. In this case, the term situational awareness is applied to just knowing about the physical elements in the environment (equivalent to Endsley’s level 1 SA), while all the rest (equating to levels 2 and 3 as described by Endsley) is referred to as situational understanding. You might see, for example, articles saying that it is important for warfighters to go “beyond situational awareness and achieve situational understanding” (e.g., Marsh, 2000). The processes involved in arriving at and maintaining situational understanding in C2 are termed sensemaking (e.g., Gartska & Alberts, 2004).


Although widely used, it is fair to say that this dominant theory is not immune from criticism. Some commentators query whether it is one of many other three level models of cognition that have been in existence for some time previously but under a different name(e.g. Card, Moran and Newell's model information processor). Additionally, some (e.g. Smith & Hancock, 1995) question the theory's reliance on the concept of mental models, a concept that is itself ill defined and subject to argument. Nonetheless, the Endsley definition is familiar and extremely popular, to the extent that the notion of SA has become almost synonymous with it. Where SA comes from, how it is structured and what people do with it is somewhat more difficult to get to grips with [...]

From: "Situation awareness" (08/2007)


[...] Sensemaking is the ability or attempt to make sense of an ambiguous situation. More exactly, sensemaking is the process of creating situational awareness and understanding in situations of high complexity or uncertainty in order to make decisions. It is "a motivated, continuous effort to understand connections (which can be among people, places, and events) in order to anticipate their trajectories and act effectively" (Klein et al, 2006a).

From: "Sensemaking" (08/2007)

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