In early 2014, a number of large-scale adverse weather events in the United States (and elsewhere) have renewed discussions of event response and resilience. Unlike events caused by human error or malicious intent, adverse natural events can be seen as uncontrolled and unpreventable; the measure of response success is the mitigation of adverse and disastrous effects. However, significant cognitive limitations interfere with human decision makers’ ability to effectively estimate likelihood, magnitude, and effective response of large-scale events in the face of multiple forms of uncertainty and system dependencies. Some authors highlight stability and maintenance of original design capability as the fundamental goal of robust and resilient response. Long-standing traditions from systems dynamics, population ecology, and process control suggest that improved understanding of system response ranges and dynamic equilibria provide a better description of effective event response. Challenges due to cognitive framing and deep uncertainty influence critical interplays of event characteristics, decision maker expertise, and resource availability. The concept of resilience boundary framing is introduced as a desirable, but difficult to achieve, goal for decision makers to respond gracefully to large-scale natural events. Examples from January and February 2014 are used to highlight these issues.


This is the author's accepted manuscript version of Caldwell, B. S. (2014). Cognitive Challenges to Resilience Dynamics in Managing Large-Scale Event Response. Journal of Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making, 8(4), 318–329. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555343414546220


Cognitive processes, topics, complexity, topics, decision making, topics, distributed operations, topics, naturalistic decision making, topics, resilience engineering, topics, uncertainty, topics, system dynamic analysis, methods, crisis response, domains, literature review, methods, team processes, topics

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