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Gary Klein and William Glasser Doctors Essay

Psychology, according to Webster’s Dictionary is the study of mind and behavior in relation to a particular field of knowledge or activity.  This is a wide open field, with hundreds of theories and practices. It’s daunting to compare them and utilize their benefits to an individual.  Psychologists based on patients needs have to decide what specific therapy would be advisable to use; some even develop they’re own therapy methods.  Two such doctors, Gary Klein and William Glasser did just that; researched developed and put into fruition they’re own.

            Gary Klein received his Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, in l969.  He was an Associate Professor of Psychology at Oakland University, California, from l970 to l974.  Klein worked as a research psychologist for the United States Air Force from l974 to 1978.  He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, has written over seventy papers and authored several books.

            Klein, is Chief Scientist of the Klein Association, a group he established in l978, “to understand how to improve decision making in individuals and teams.”  He is one of the founder’s n the field of “naturalistic decision making.”  Dr. Klein’s extensive work on recognition decision making includes the design of new systems and interfaces, and decision training programs.  He has determined, through research that effective decision making is problem detection, option generation, and sense make planning and re-planning. He and his associates use CTA methods to study decision making in more than “60 domains, including firefighting, command and control, software troubleshooting,  healthcare, and consumer purchasing.”

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            Cognitive learning requires a different concept of the learning process. It depends profoundly on mental models, which is a “cluster of fundamental beliefs about how things happen.” We need to “revise our belief system as experience shows the inadequacy of our current ways of thinking,” Dr. Klein states (iscram.org).

            Klein’s books detail his theories and highlight his research projects, they also provide the tools needed for individuals to practice competent decision making.  His most popular book is the “Source of Power,” published in l999.  This book discusses the theory Dr. Klein and his associates developed called, “naturalistic decision-making.”

It essentially lends validity of scientific research to techniques that most of us use every day; intuition, “which is based on the rapid (perhaps even subconscious) interpretation of perceptual cues;” there’s mental simulation, “a finely honed method of visualization,” storytelling, and metaphor, which “enable decision -makers to devise meaningful frameworks and compare present situations to previous events.” Dr. Klein tells us that no one is born with an inherent “mastery” of these techniques, but we are all born with the “capability” to develop them through experience.

His book titled “Working Minds: A Practitioner’s Guide to Cognitive Task Analysis, in 2006, co-authored with  Beth Cramdall and Robert Hoffman, depicts how to collect data about cognitive processes and events; how to analyze CTA, and communicate findings.

            “The Power of Intuition,” written in 2004 demonstrates that the expertise to recognize patterns and other cues that enables us, intuitively – to make right decisions, is a natural extension of experience.  Klien defines a three tiered process called the “Exceleration Program.”  Readers are provided with the tools needed to help make “tough choices, notice potential problems, manage uncertainty, and size up situations quickly.”

He professes how to communicate these decisions more effectively, how to coach others in the “art of intuition,” and recognize an “over dependence” on information technology


            Dr. Klein is most known for his theory of Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM) the movement originated at a conference in Dayton, Ohio in l989, which resulted in a book with Caroline Zsambok, aptly titled “Naturalistic Decision Making,” in l996.  This book describes in detail there theory, and also put it in simple layman’s words; “naturalistic decision making, (NDW) is the way people use their experiences to make decisions.”

            The Naturalistic Decision Making framework focuses on cognitive functions, such as decision making, sensemaking, situational awareness, planning – which emerge in natural settings and take forms that are not easily replicated in the laboratory; basically real life situations and observations are used. NDM s components show experts how to make decisions in the real world using descriptive methods, stresses, and time pressures.

Other related research areas include; behavioral decision theory, judgment decision making and organizational decision making (2).

            The forms of NDM are: Recognition primed decision making.  Related theories methods: critical decision method, exploration based theory, and image theory.  NDM and teams are the most used aspect of this theory, based on studying teams in their natural environment – real teams performing real tasks in real settings.  Also, contextual focus as opposed to more general and abstract (9).  To break NDM down to the core, it is a method of making decision’s using real situations, not hypotheses.

     Work Cited

everything2com. “William Glasser.” 2 Mar 2002. 1 May 2008 http://everything2.com/


Glasser,William. “The Glasser Approach.” The William Glasser Insitute. 1 May 2008


iscram.org. “Gary Klein.”  ISCRAM Community.  28 Nov 2007. 30 April 2008. http://


librarything.com. “Descriptions.”  Library Thing. 1 May 2008 http://www.librarything.


ocw.mit.edu. “Naturalistic Decision Making.” 2 May 2008. http://ocw.mit.edu

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