TABLE S-3 Possible Future Opportunities (Neuroscience Areas Worthy of Monitoring for Future Army Investment)

Technology Opportunity

ME

RE

Time Framea

Current Investment (L, M, or H)

Commercial

Academic

Brain–computer interface system (direct)

x

 

Far term

H

H

Imaging cognition

 

x

Far term

L

H

Neuropharmacological technology

 

x

Far term

M

M

Advanced fMRI data collection

 

x

Medium term

M

M

Averaging methodology for fMRI

 

x

Medium term

L

M

Brain database aggregation

 

x

Far term

M

M

Default mode networks

x

x

Medium term

L

H

Inverse MRI

 

x

Medium term

L

M

Low-field MRI

x

x

Far term

L

M

Uses of TMS for brain network inhibition

 

x

Far term

L

M

Safety of multiple exposures to TMS

 

x

Medium term

M

M

In-helmet TMS deployment

x

 

Far term

L

L

Connectomics

 

x

Far term

L

M

Atomic magnetometers

x

x

Far term

M

M

NOTE: ME, mission-enabling; RE, research-enabling; L/M/H, low, medium, or high; fMRI, functional magnetic resonance imaging; MRI, magnetic resonance imaging; and TMS, transcranial magnetic stimulation.

aIn this column, “medium term” means between 5 and 10 years and “far term” means 10-20 years.

SOURCE: Committee-generated.

the insights on individual variability and the human dimension that are emerging from neuroscience.

OPPORTUNITIES IN ARMY APPLICATIONS AREAS

Opportunities exist for the Army to benefit from research in neuroscience by applying and leveraging the results of work by others (including academic research and R&D by other federal agencies and the commercial sector) or by making selective investments in Army-specific problems and applications.

Training and Learning

Neuroscience can extend and improve the Army’s traditional behavioral science approaches to both training and learning. For example, neuroscience offers new ways to assess how well current training paradigms and accepted assumptions about learning achieve their objectives. Neuropsychological indicators can help to assess how well an individual trainee has assimilated mission-critical knowledge and skills. These assessment tools also will allow the Army to assess individual variability and tailor training regimens to the individual trainee.


Recommendation 1. The Army should adjust its research capabilities to take advantage of the current and emerging advances in neuroscience to augment, evaluate, and extend its approaches to training and learning. Indicators of knowledge and skill acquisition based in neuroscience should be incorporated into the methods of testing for training success. In particular, these indicators should be employed in identifying individual variability in learning and tailoring training regimens to optimize individual learning.


The Army currently relies heavily on broad, general indicators of aptitude to predict training effectiveness and individual success rates. The importance of predicting success rates of soldiers before assigning them to given tasks increases with the cost of training for the task and with the consequences of not performing the task well. In comparison with the indicators that have been developed for assessing how well skills or knowledge have been acquired, neurological predictors of soldier performance need much R&D before they will be ready for Army applications.


Recommendation 2. The Army should investigate neuropsychological testing of candidates for a training course that is already established as a requirement to enter a high-value field. In this way the Army can determine whether an assignment-specific neuropsychological profile can be developed that has sufficiently high predictive value to use in conjunction with established criteria for the assignment. If results for this investigation are positive, the Army should investigate development of assignment-specific profiles for additional assignments.

Optimizing Decision Making

Human decision making is predictably inefficient and often suboptimal, especially when the decisions require assessments of risk and are made under pressure. Indi-



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement