CJ Montalbano is a Human Factors Engineer at QIC. He has over 3 years of professional experience studying and researching topics in human factors, psychology, and human-centered design to apply in academia and industry settings. CJ graduated with a 4.0 GPA in the Master of Human-Computer Interaction program from Iowa State University and holds a B.A. in Behavioral Neuroscience from Randolph-Macon College where he was a student-athlete. CJ has assisted in a variety of human factors research, such as projects related to automated system design in vehicles and distracted driving. CJ’s research interests revolve around human-computer interaction and incorporating design principles grounded in psychology and neuroscience to existing and novel technology to improve human performance and safety.
Michael King is a Human Factors Engineer at Quantum Improvements Consulting. He has 3 years of experience managing a research lab in a university setting, focusing on the relationship between cognition and human skill and performance. Michael earned his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at Case Western Reserve University, where he researched the cognitive and perceptual factors that influence human performance, such as memory, attention, and learning. Michael’s research interests center around human performance, training, and the predictors of success in Defense settings.
Talia Pettit is a Project Manager at Quantum Improvements Consulting. Talia holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and two certificates in Six Sigma Green Belt (SSGB) and Project Management Professional (PMP). She has over 15 years of experience in business gap analysis, process improvement, project management, and instructional training design. These certificates have assisted her experience in quality improvement and project management throughout her various employment experiences; 11 years as a certified Green Belt and 8 years as a certified Professional Project Manager. She has a varied and valuable work history demonstrating 10 years’ experience in the health insurance industry and approximately 5 years in the Hospitality Management field. Talia also specializes in training deliverables such as course plans, course development and instruction, course evaluations, and plan of action for employee improvement based on training outcomes.
Talia’s personal interests include spending time with her husband, 9-year-old son, and 2-year-old rescued Boxer mix dog. Some of her favorite personal interests include attending local events such as theme parks, movies, theater performances, art festivals, musical artists, and enjoying fine wines.
Dr. Grace Teo is a Senior Research Psychologist at Quantum Improvements Consulting. Grace earned her Ph.D. in Applied Experimental and Human Factors Psychology, and certificates in SAS Data Mining and Design for Usability from the University of Central Florida. She has work experience in both Industrial & Organizational (I-O.) and Human Factors (HF) psychology. Her I-O psychology work included developing competency profiles and selection assessment methodologies for scholarship and job applicants for various positions in the Singapore Civil Service and designing organizational surveys and leadership research. Grace’s HF psychology experience involves the use of knowledge elicitation techniques, as well as subjective and physiological measures to analyze and assess. She is keen to use both theory-driven and data-inspired approaches to understand and improve human performance under various conditions and in different contexts such as working with different technologies, and in teams. Grace’s dissertation was on enhancing performance in a human robot team by managing workload through a closed-loop system. The research involves developing a workload model that is based on physiological workload measures. Her research interests include decision making processes and measures, vigilance performance, human-robot teaming, automation, and individual differences. Grace has presented her work at several conferences including the HFES, AHFE, APA, HCII, ESV conferences, and is published in peer-reviewed journals.
With major events and/or crises there often comes misinformation, fake news, and conspiracy theories. No matter how outrageous, such as 9/11 being an inside job or lizard people infiltrating the government and the entertainment industry by holding high power positions, there are people who will buy-in. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 global health crisis is no exception when it comes to misinformation and conspiracy theories. In March 2020, a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center was taken by American adults asking how they believed the virus started. Out of 9,000 adults, only 43% believed it was natural (i.e., not man-made), 23% believed it was intentionally man-made, 6% believed it was man-made but unintentional, and 1% didn’t believe the Coronavirus existed at all (that’s 90 people!). There was no information on the remaining 27%, but it’s likely that this indicates the amount of people who didn’t respond. Regardless, based on these results, it appears that people are not only misinformed but uninformed as well.
Currently, there is no remedy or cure for COVID-19 (no, drinking cleaning supplies, such as bleach, is NOT one), but there is a remedy for misinformation – critical thinking. According to the Foundation for Critical Thinking , it is a “mode of thinking - about any subject, content, or problem - in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully taking charge of the structures inherent in thinking and imposing intellectual standards upon them.” Please consider applying intellectual standards when evaluating information related to COVID- 19.
Though there are multiple COVID-19 conspiracies, the most prolific conspiracy is that the roll-out of 5G signals impacted the Coronavirus. Some theories are that it weakens the immune system making the virus harder to fight off, it’s the government using the lock-down to install networks, and my personal favorite, it’s an Illuminati mass-murder plot. “Experts” have made claims about 5G as well. For example, according to a physician in California, the Coronavirus is the effect of poison from 5G. Another expert offered the counterargument that 5G waves are too similar to already-existing electromagnetic waves to be the cause of a pandemic. Of course, we cannot ignore the fact that electromagnetic waves are not viruses – science. In cases like these, it is necessary to scrutinize the level of expertise and the information presented. Always seek multiple sources of information, consider the basis of the information provided, the motivation of the person, and the benefits they would gain from your compliance. It is also important to remember that correlation does not equal causation. In the image below, a Twitter user is trying to make an argument that new advancements in radio waves precedes major pandemics.
People are increasingly spending time on, and getting their news from, social media. While often criticized for spreading false information, social media has demonstrated awareness of false information about COVID-19 and is working on finding ways to combat it. TikTok, for instance, has partnered with the World Health Organization (WHO) to help disperse accurate and helpful tips to its users. One TikTok from WHO shows how to properly use a facemask. TikTok isn’t the only media source combatting misinformation. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, and more have been called out about the spreading of fake news and the lack of moderation on their platforms and have since made claims explaining how they have taken action. Facebook is using fact checkers and flagging false information. YouTube and Twitter will be relying more heavily on artificial intelligence and machine learning to monitor their platforms by automatically hiding content deemed harmful by the algorithm.
While it is important to remain open-minded and consider all points of view, it is also important to scrutinize and be skeptical of the information that is being given to the general public. If something sounds off, it just may be, so take the time to examine it further. Fact check, identify reliable sources, and be aware of your own potential errors in decision making and opinions. This barely scratches the surface of what is happening with fake news, conspiracies, and more, but to sum up, please refrain from drinking bleach.
These posts are written or shared by QIC team members. We find this stuff interesting, exciting, and totally awesome! We hope you do too!