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Scientist Focuses On Soldiers' Operational Behavior

Armand Cardello of the U.S. Army's Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, in Massachusetts, has been appointed a senior research scientist.
by Staff Writers
Natick MA (AFNS) May 07, 2007
When it comes to what troops in the field want to get their missions accomplished, Army behavioral scientist Armand Cardello is an expert. For more than 30 years, he has worked at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts, focusing on military members - their needs, expectations, likes and dislikes. Now, Cardello has been appointed a senior research scientist.

Cardello said that he is looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of this new position because it will allow him more focused time for his independent research, while enabling him to be a more effective advocate within the NSRDEC and the Army for both his own area of research, sensory and consumer behavior, and for the more general area of human behavior and performance.

"These are extremely important areas of research," he said, "because our soldiers are the consumers of rations, clothing and equipment developed by NSRDEC and the Army. Research into consumer behavior and performance can ensure that we are getting the best and most effective products into the field."

Suppose you have a good product. If the soldier is not willing to use it or doesn't have the ability to use it, then the mission could be compromised, or ultimately, a life endangered, he said.

"Understanding the sensory, cognitive, and situational factors that influence effective utilization of military products and equipment is essential. This is an area that DoD needs to pursue more heavily."

Cardello's research work at the Natick installation for more has focused on two main areas, in which he has made significant scientific breakthroughs. The first area is psychophysics -- the study of the relationships between physical stimuli in the environment and how humans perceive them. For many years, Cardello has worked on establishing new methods for measuring human perceptual responses. Recently he developed conceptually new methods for assessing the magnitude of sensory and emotional experiences such as likes, dislikes, comfort, and satiety (feelings of fullness). Such methods enable better quantification of soldier-consumer responses to rations, new products and equipment.

The second area in which Cardello has worked concerns consumer expectations of product performance and how these expectations influence behavior toward the products. In this area, he has worked to develop models to predict the acceptability of consumer goods based on the user's expectations about them.

"This area is especially important to the military," he said. "There are many negative stereotypes about military rations and other products. Research into how people's beliefs and expectations influence how they actually perceive the world is essential for counteracting negative beliefs and ensuring that beneficial foods and advanced technologies and equipment are utilized effectively to ensure the safety and well being of both our soldiers and the consuming public."

Today, Army senior scientists divide their time between conducting research in their own disciplinary areas and serving the Department of Defense as scientific reviewers, program advisers, and mentors of young scientists and engineers.

Cardello holds a master of science and a doctor of philosophy degree in psychology from the University of Massachusetts. He is on the editorial boards of two scientific journals, has been a scientific columnist and book reviewer, and has won numerous military and federal scientific awards.

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