Using Emotional Intelligence in Training Crisis Managers: The Pandora Approach

MacKinnon, L., Bacon, L., Cortellessa, G., Cesta, A.

In International Journal of Distance Education Technologies, 11(2). pp. 66-96, 2013

Multi-agency crisis management represents one of the most complex of real-world situations, requiring rapid negotiation and decision-making under extreme pressure. However, the training offered to strategic planners, called Gold Commanders, does not place them under any such pressure. It takes the form of paper-based, table-top exercises, or expensive, real-world, limited-scope simulations. The Pandora project has developed a rich multimedia training environment for Gold Commanders, based on a crisis scenario, timeline-based, event network, with which the trainees and their trainer interact dynamically. Pandora uses the emotional intelligence of the trainees, through a behavioural modelling component, to support group dynamic and decision-making. It applies systemic emotional intelligence, based on inferred user state and rule-based affective inputs, to impact the stress levels of the trainees. Pandora can impose variable stress on trainees, to impact their decision-making, and model their behaviour and performance under stress, potentially resulting in more effective and realisable strategies.