Stephen M. Fiore

Stephen M. Fiore, Ph.D.


Dr. Stephen M. Fiore, is Director, Cognitive Sciences Laboratory, and Professor with the University of Central Florida's Cognitive Sciences Program in the Department of Philosophy and Institute for Simulation & Training. He is Past-President of the Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research and a founding Program Committee member for the annual Science of Team Science Conference. He maintains a multidisciplinary research interest that incorporates aspects of the cognitive, social, organizational, and computational sciences in the investigation of learning and performance in individuals and teams. His primary area of research is the interdisciplinary study of complex collaborative cognition and the understanding of how humans interact socially and with technology. Dr. Fiore has been a visiting scholar for the study of shared and extended cognition at École Normale Supérieure de Lyon in Lyon, France (2010) and he was a member of the expert panel for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) which focused on collaborative problem solving skills. He has contributed to working groups for the National Academies of Science in understanding and measuring "21st Century Skills" and was a committee member of their "Science of Team Science" consensus study.  He is co-author of a book on “Accelerating Expertise” (2013) and is a co-editor of volumes on Shared Cognition (2012), Macrocognition in Teams (2008), Distributed Training (2007), Team Cognition (2004).  Dr. Fiore has also co-authored nearly 200 scholarly publications in the area of learning, memory, and problem solving at the individual and the group level.


  • Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from University of Pittsburgh (2000)

Research Interests

Shared Cognition; Technology as External Cognition; Collaborative Problem Solving; Narrative and Training; Technology and Learning; Narrative Systems for Teams

Recent Research Activities

Research Statement – Stephen M. Fiore, Ph.D.

My research has been grounded in a strong foundation of interdisciplinarity and my philosophy of scholarship can be described within the context of three overarching principles.  The first is that of pursuing understanding while being ever mindful of the needs of society.  I believe that fundamental research and applied research are not mutually exclusive and I see them as being interdependent and cross-fertilizing one another. My efforts fall under the rubric of what is called “use-inspired” basic research (Stokes, 1997). This is a theoretically driven perspective that simultaneously considers the eventual use of the knowledge gained.  I explore fundamental issues in cognition and collaboration, but do so within the context of complex real-world tasks and problems. The second is the belief in multidisciplinarity and the notion that progress towards understanding requires examining issues from multiple perspectives. I believe that growth in knowledge is more likely to come from a broad, as opposed to a narrow, perspective on a problem.  In support of this, external reviewer, Dr. Linda Argote, stated: “While many of us talk about the importance of interdisciplinary research, few of us have achieved such an interdisciplinary research portfolio as Steve has.” Third, cutting across this is my belief that innovative accomplishments rely upon a strong foundation of collaboration with colleagues and students. My accomplishments are due in large part to the input of exceptional colleagues and I publish extensively with my collaborators, including my students (student co-authors are denoted with “*”).  This theme of interdisciplinarity and collaboration permeates my activities and, for my research, I have pursued a program of scholarly activity to bridge disparate disciplines, concentrating on understanding team cognition. This is based upon a foundation of theory from the cognitive, organizational, and computational sciences. I now provide detail on my interdisciplinary program of research designed to understand and improve the function of individuals and teams.  

Team Cognition and Complex Collaboration 

First, I have pursued a form of scientific stewardship in the development of the field of team cognition, a melding of cognition with research on how humans interact socially and with technology. This included the development of a number of edited volumes that have brought together researchers from different disciplines to present their perspectives on team cognition (Salas & Fiore, 2004), on complex collaborative problem solving (Letsky, Warner, Fiore, & Smith, 2008), and on interdisciplinary approaches for studying shared cognition (Salas, Fiore, & Letsky, 2012). I am continuing this line of my work as I am currently under contract to develop a volume that looks at multi-level measurement issues in team cognition that range from neuroscience to network sciences (Fiore & Salas, in development).  I have also pursued the development of journal special issues in order to reach targeted audiences who may not be familiar with certain disciplinary perspectives on collaborative cognition (Fiore & Salas, 2006; Salas, Fiore, & Letstky, 2010). These efforts contributed to the overall field of team cognition by bringing together experts in varied fields to present their work in a unified volume or issue to new audiences.   

Second, my efforts in team cognition have also involved informing science policy and the research necessary to understand and improve collaboration. In particular, I’ve worked to coordinate researchers from different fields, but all united in their study of teams, to encourage dialogue and a cross-pollination of ideas.  In this context, one of my more significant contributions has been helping to develop a new area for ‘team research’ – the Science of Team Science.  In 2008, I published a paper on this emerging field, where researchers in the physical and life sciences are grappling with the complex coordination required to participate in interdisciplinary science teams (Fiore, 2008). This paper led to a grant from the National Science Foundation in 2009, the outcomes of which subsequently helped to develop the Science of Team Science as a scholarly field (Falk-Krzesinski, Börner, Contractor, Cummings, Fiore et al., 2010).  Since then, my colleagues and I have published a number of papers on the meta-scientific issues associated with developing this important area of inquiry.  Our initial efforts were aimed at identifying the multi-level factors that need to be researched in the study of science teams (Borner, Contractor, Falk-Krzesinski, Fiore, et al, 2010), as well as mapping out the problem space for a research agenda in this area (Falk-Krzesinski, Contractor, Fiore, et al, 2011). As was pointed out by my reviewer, Dr. Jeremy Sabloff, my “2011 co-authored article in the journal Research Evaluation is a key landmark in the development of this very promising field of study.” More recently this work has involved theory development along the lines of fostering team coordination through team charters (*Asencio, *Carter, DeChurch, Zaccaro, & Fiore, 2012) and through the development of integrative capacity in innovation teams (Salazar, Lant, Fiore, & Salas, 2012). This work has also led to a defense of this evolving form of knowledge production (Fiore, 2013), as well as translational efforts meant to support the application of extant findings (Vogel, Hall, Fiore, et al., 2013). I have also recently made the case that this kind of collaboration needs to extend to varied stakeholders when considering complex problem solving for environmental sustainability (Fiore, *Phillips, & *Sellers, 2014). As detailed in my “service” documentation, I am continuing to lead policy in this area as well. Further, I was just awarded a workshop grant by the National Science Foundation to bring together stakeholders in team science to map out the next phase of research and education in this developing field.

Third, I have focused my own research on the development of a theory of collaborative problem solving that unites concepts and methods from a variety of disciplines.  With a grant from the Office of Navel Research, this work broke new ground in that we critically analyzed and synthesized existing literature across multiple domains, ranging from the psychological and organizational sciences to computer science and human factors.  From this we integrated—into a concise theory—our approach for examining complex forms of collaborative cognition in teams. Building off of my earlier work on team problem solving (Fiore & Schooler, 2000; 2004), and based upon this synthesis, my colleagues and I published a major theoretical article that positioned our theory of macrocognition in teams within the broader literature on shared cognition (Fiore, *Rosen, Smith-Jentsch, Salas, Letsky, & Warner, 2010).  This model integrates three theoretical elements. First, it is multi-level in that it encompasses individual and team level factors. Second, it addresses internalized and externalized cognitive functions. Finally, it incorporates temporal characteristics to examine phases of collaborative problem-solving and how these alter process and performance.  We additionally published a detailed delineation of the measures and metrics associated with assessing the processes arising in macrocognition in teams (Fiore, Smith-Jentsch, Salas, Warner, & Letsky, 2010). In support of this, we articulated a means for conceptualizing the knowledge building process and how problem solvers transform data to information to knowledge (Fiore, *Elias, Salas, Warner, & Letsky, 2010) as well as how teams communicate to manage uncertainty when solving complex problems (Fiore, *Rosen, & Salas, 2010).

This theory was used to study collaborative problem solving at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. We worked with NASA’s Mission Control Center (MCC), which is responsible for control of the International Space Station (ISS) and which responds to problems that obstruct the functioning of the ISS. These problems are often complex, requiring individual experts and teams of experts to work collaboratively. Our study examined individual and collaborative problem solving with a focus on how Mission Control personnel—each with their own skills and responsibilities—exchange information to gain a shared understanding of the problem. We used the macrocognition in teams model to assess collaborative problem solving processes in the MCC and documented the interplay between team knowledge building processes and internalized and externalized team knowledge in this complex domain (Fiore, *Wiltshire, *Oglesby, Okeefe, & Salas, 2014). Given the success of this work with NASA JSC, I was asked to help study an additional problem the ISS faced when an ammonia leak was detected.  In collaboration with NASA, we developed a method for eliciting the knowledge necessary to understand the team’s collaborative problem solving processes, documented these findings (Fiore & *Wiltshire, 2014), and made recommendations for training based upon this (e.g., *Wiltshire, *Rosch, Fiorella, & Fiore, 2014). Last, based upon this work, I was awarded funding from NASA to identify team cognitive research questions in preparation for long duration space missions.  In sum, the macrocognition in teams theory is one of the few developed to capture complex collaborative cognition and this work helps lay the foundation for further theory testing in other domains in need of methods capable of capturing the complicated interplay between people and their technology.  

Fourth, I have examined issues of expertise in teams more broadly.  Coming out of a grant we received from the National Science Foundation, my colleagues and I outlined a set of approaches for accelerating the development of expertise focusing on learning and performance at the highest levels. We produced a journal special issue (Fiore & Salas, 2008) to bring together two seemingly disparate disciplines – sports and military researchers – that examined human learning and performance at the highest levels of proficiency and under extreme conditions.  We outlined steps necessary for a truly interdisciplinary integration of theories and methods to produce a use-inspired science of expertise studies (Fiore, Hoffman, & Salas, 2008). This work was expanded and culminated in an authored book on accelerated learning (Hoffman, Ward, Feltovich, DiBello, Fiore, & Andrews, 2013). Our goal was to synthesize a large body of research on expertise and its development and use this as a stepping off point for developing training for the kinds of complex, high proficiency jobs in modern employment sectors. I have also studied how decision support systems help make expert team interaction requirements clearer and more transparent. Here, my colleagues and I developed the concept of team cognitive efficiency (Fiore, Johnston, Paris, & Smith, 2005), a combinatory measure that takes into account perceived workload measured during actual team performance. In a recent test of this theory, we showed how such measures could add a level of diagnosticity to research in human-systems integration by combining subjective assessments of workload with objective measures of team tactical performance (Johnston, Fiore, Paris, & Smith, 2013). Many of these ideas were integrated in comprehensive review papers in which we developed a theoretical framework for the design of technology to support cognition and collaboration in distributed teams (Fiore, McDaniel, & Jentsch, 2009; Fiore, Rodriguez, & Carstens, 2012), as well as training to accelerate the development of team cognitive readiness (Fiore, Ross, & Jentsch, 2012).

My research on team cognition has also broadened to encompass interdisciplinary thinking on teamwork by considering issues surrounding the design and development of human-agent teams, that is, teams composed of humans interacting with autonomous or semi-autonomous intelligent agents or robots. My early work in this area led to current funding from the Army Research Lab to study theory of mind and embodied cognition in the context of human-robot teams (*Bockelman Morrow & Fiore, 2011; *Elias, *Bockelman Morrow, *Streater, Gallagher, & Fiore, 2011; Fiore, *Elias, Gallagher, & Jentsch, 2008; *Streater, *Elias, *Bockelman Morrow, & Fiore, 2011). This line of work encompasses team cognition in the context of technology (*Bocklman Morrow & Fiore, 2012), theorizing on dual-processing accounts of social perception in human-robot teams (*Lobato, *Wiltshire, & Fiore, 2013), as well as modeling embodied and enactive cognition for human-robot teams (*Wiltshire, Barber, & Fiore, 2013; *Wiltshire, *Lobato, Jentsch, & Fiore, 2014) and developing an algorithmic model of what is called social calculus for human-agent interaction and intention understanding (*Khan, *Streater, *Bhatia, Fiore, & Bölöni, 2013).  Most recently, we have been empirically examining this line of theorizing to study the relationship between social cues and social signals in human robot interaction. In collaboration with iRobot, and their prototype Ava™ platform, we studied how manipulations of proxemics and gaze cues altered attributions of intention and emotion in a hallway navigation scenario (Fiore, *Wiltshire, *Lobato, Jentsch, Huang, & Axelrod, 2013). From this work we have also contributed to a fundamental understanding of "theory of mind" and social cognition. In particular, my students and I have worked to integrate theories from neuroscience, psychology, and philosophy to reconcile radical embodied cognition with traditional approaches to cognitive neuroscience (*Wiltshire, *Lobato, McConnell, & Fiore, 2015). We’ve extended this to show how it can help us understand social robotics through research and application in human robot interaction (*Lobato, *Warta, *Wiltshire, & Fiore, 2015; *Lobato, *Wiltshire, *Hudak, & Fiore, 2014; *Wiltshire, Barber, Fiore, 2013; *Wiltshire, *Snow, *Lobato, & Fiore, 2014; *Wiltshire, *Lobato, *Velez, Jentsch, & Fiore, 2014). As such, this represents an important developing body of work that is breaking ground by integrating new theory in social cognitive processes with robotics and human robot interactions.


  • Reach for Stars Award, Office of the President, University of Central Florida, 2014 ($10,000 annual research stipend)
  • Adviser, 1st Place, Best Student Led Paper Award, Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making Technical Group, 59th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 2015.
  • Adviser, 2nd Place, Best Student Led Paper Award, Cognitive Engineering and Decision Making Technical Group, 57th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 2013.
  • Research Incentive Award, Office of the Provost, University of Central Florida, 2012 ($5,000 annual addition to base salary)
  •  Invited Member Extended Expert Group. Collaborative Problem Solving. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.  2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). 2011-2012.
  • National Training Simulation Association Modeling and Simulation Award - Training. Awarded to the Next-generation Expeditionary Warfare – Intelligent Training (NEW-IT) ISS Team. Office of Naval Research, University of Central Florida (Institute for Simulation & Training), Design Interactive, Lockheed Martin, and CHI Systems – 2011
  • Invited Visiting Professorship, Centre d'Epistémologie des Sciences Cognitives, École Normale Supérieure, Lyon, France. December, 2010
  • Best Paper Award, MODSIM World Conference and Expo, Serious Games & Virtual Worlds Track, 2010
  • Best Poster Award, Interdisciplinary Network for Group Research, 2009
  • Distinguished Contributor Invitation. Introductory and Concluding Chapters, Edited volume on Human Performance Enhancement in High Risk Environments, 2009
  • Research Incentive Award, Office of the Provost, University of Central Florida, 2006 ($5,000 annual addition to base salary)
  • Best Paper Nomination, (2005). Software Technology Track, 38th Hawaii International Conference System Sciences
  • American Psychological Association, Division 49, Dissertation Research Award Finalist, 2001
  • Andrew Mellon Pre-doctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh, 1996-1997 Academic Year
  • Cognitive Program Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Pittsburgh, June 1996
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Research Award, Creative Concepts Conference, May 1995
  • American Psychological Society Travel Award, San Diego Conference, July 1992
  • Psi Chi National Honor Society in Psychology, University of Maryland, September 1991
  • Outstanding Chapter Communications Award, American Marketing Association, April 1988
  • National Collegiate Business Merit Award, University of Maryland, January 1988
  • Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society
  • Dean's List, University of Maryland
  • Dean's List, Montgomery College
  • National Dean's List


Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
17336 PHI5340 Res Methods in the Cog. Sci Face to Face Instruction (P) W 06:00 PM - 08:50 PM Unavailable
No Description Available
Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
89559 PHI5327 Topics in Cognitive Sciences Face to Face Instruction (P) W 06:00 PM - 08:50 PM Available
No Description Available

No courses found for Summer 2019.

Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
11455 PHI3930H Hon Special Topic Face to Face Instruction (P) Tu,Th 03:00 PM - 04:15 PM Unavailable
No Description Available
10397 PHI5340 Res Methods in the Cog. Sci Face to Face Instruction (P) W 06:00 PM - 08:50 PM Available
No Description Available
Course Number Course Title Mode Date and Time Syllabus
80436 PHI5327 Topics in Cognitive Sciences Face to Face Instruction (P) W 06:00 PM - 08:50 PM Available
No Description Available

No courses found for Summer 2018.

Updated: Dec 6, 2018