Cognitive social simulation is a computer simulation technique that aims to improve our understanding of the dynamics of socially-situated and socially-distributed cognition. This makes cognitive social simulation techniques particularly appealing as a means to undertake experiments into team cognition. The current paper reports on the results of an ongoing effort to develop a cognitive social simulation capability that can be used to undertake studies into team cognition using the ACT-R cognitive architecture. This capability is intended to support simulation experiments using a team-based problem solving task, which has been used to explore the effect of different organizational environments on collective problem solving performance. The functionality of the ACT-R-based cognitive social simulation capability is presented and a number of areas of future development work are outlined. The paper also describes the motivation for adopting cognitive architectures in the context of social simulation experiments and presents a number of research areas where cognitive social simulation may be useful in developing a better understanding of the dynamics of team cognition. These include the use of cognitive social simulation to study the role of cognitive processes in determining aspects of communicative behavior, as well as the impact of communicative behavior on the shaping of task-relevant cognitive processes (e.g., the social shaping of individual and collective memory as a result of communicative exchanges). We suggest that the ability to perform cognitive social simulation experiments in these areas will help to elucidate some of the complex interactions that exist between cognitive, social, technological and informational factors in the context of team-based problem-solving activities.
The socially-distributed nature of cognitive processing in a variety of organizational settings means that there is increasing scientific interest in the factors that affect collective cognition. In military coalitions, for example, there is a need to understand how factors such as communication network topology, trust, cultural differences and the potential for miscommunication affects the ability of distributed teams to generate high quality plans, to formulate effective decisions and to develop shared situation awareness. The current paper presents a computational model and associated simulation capability for performing in silico experimental analyses of collective sensemaking. This model can be used in combination with the results of human experimental studies in order to improve our understanding of the factors that influence collective sensemaking processes.