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This profile was last updated on 5/16/15  and contains information from public web pages and contributions from the ZoomInfo community.

Dr. Michael D. Matthews

Wrong Dr. Michael D. Matthews?

Professor With the Department of ...

the United States Military Academy at West Point
Phone: (845) ***-****  
Email: m***@***.edu
Local Address:  New York , United States
U.S. Military Academy
646 Swift Road
West Point , New York 10996
United States


Employment History

Board Memberships and Affiliations


  • Ph.D. , Head Strong
27 Total References
Web References
Within this narrative framework the ..., 16 May 2015 [cached]
Within this narrative framework the sacrifices are justified and the building of psychological resilience for soldiers-as described in an entire issue of the American Psychologist dedicated to Comprehensive Fitness Training -makes perfect sense.[ii] "The program's overall goal is to increase the number of soldiers who grow through their combat experience and return home without serious mental health problems" according to Michael Matthews, a professor with the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership at the United States Military Academy at West Point.[iii]
Michael D. Matthews, ..., 7 Oct 2014 [cached]
Michael D. Matthews, Ph.D. It is hard to imagine Patton effectively leading a coalition force tasked with defeating ISIS. Michael D. Matthews, Ph.D.
by Michael D. Matthews, Ph.D.
21st Century Military Leadership The skills needed for effective military leadership have changed. Published on October 6, 2014 by Michael D. Matthews, Ph.D. in Head Strong
Michael D. Matthews, Ph.D.
Michael D. Matthews, Ph.D., is Professor of Engineering Psychology at the United States Military Academy and author of Head Strong: How Psychology is Revolutionizing War.
Michigan War Studies Review - book reviews, literature surveys, original essays, and commentary in the field of military studies, 1 May 2015 [cached]
By Michael D. Matthews
In this thought-provoking book, psychologist Michael Matthews (US Military Academy) examines the role psychology and psychologists will play in warfare. In chapter 1, "Psychological Science and the Art of War," he writes that
Matthews sets himself to review the role of psychology in war today and in the recent past, and to project its place in decades to come. He ambitiously identifies his intended audience as both military psychologists and laymen.
This is intriguing research, but Matthews does not make clear just how the military might implement testing for such non-cognitive factors or whether sufficient evidence supports the use of such testing in screening future soldiers.
Chapter 3, "Turning Civilians into Soldiers," investigates the role of psychology in military training. Matthews believes we are at the beginning of a radical change in training, primarily involving the use of simulations. By 2030, he asserts, simulations will include a variety of scenarios (tactical scripts) to facilitate improved "battle savvy," train for intuitive thinking, and model complex decision making (43). Infantry lieutenants of the future will engage in various simulation scenarios and learn to cooperate with other players in complex operations. Such networked simulations have tremendous potential to revolutionize training even sooner than Matthews believes. Video game players routinely immerse themselves in a virtual environment and carry out "operations" while linked with other players via the internet; they communicate with each other through headsets, seeing other players' avatars and coordinating their actions. In short, the technology is here. All that remains is to adapt it to military training.
In a fascinating section of chapter 3, entitled "Training the Warrior Heart," Matthews discerns a significant gap in today's military training: soldiers are taught to kill, but not how to deal with having taken a life. This has second-order consequences like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and difficulty reintegrating into civilian societyâ€"all in need of further research. Another issue worth exploring is whether psychologists will ever be able to identify individuals best suited to cope with killing and its psychological consequences, which would facilitate the selection of personnel for special operations forces where "legitimate" killing is more likely to be required. Based on his experience as a law enforcement officer, Matthews concludes that training to manage the effects of killing is critical for anyone authorized to use deadly force; he recognizes, too, the necessity to distinguish legitimate from illegitimate killing.
Chapter 4, "Cognitive Dominance: Soldiers and Systems That Outthink the Enemy," focuses on decision making both real and modeled. In a perceptive discussion of situational awareness, Matthews writes that "In the future, military psychologists will play a major role in improving situational awareness in two ways. First, they will develop ways to train new soldiers and leaders to develop effective situational awareness skills prior to deploying to war. Second, they will work with engineers to design military systems that augment the soldier's natural cognition with automated systems providing critical information at the right time and in the right way to establish and maintain high situational awareness at all times" (61).
Virtual simulations and augmented cognition systems have great potential as new means to enhance situational awareness in future soldiers, replacing the "on-the-job, learn-through-experience" method prevalent today. Matthews also discusses the use of intuition based on expertise as the preferred method of quick decision making in high risk situations. "A general officer with decades of experience training [sic] and fighting wars may be able to render decisions using intuition that are quite effective" (57). That may be so, but intuitive decision making, however experienced the commander, is not always appropriate or effective. History is replete with examples.[1]
Chapter 5, "Tough Hearts: Building Resilient Leaders," considers the age-old, unavoidable problems of recovering from trauma and extreme stress, which, Matthews observes, may range from PTSD to positive post-traumatic growth. Most concerning for the military is the ability to recover quickly from stress. The Army's Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program seeks to build resilience and psychological fitness. Matthews sees improved resilience training as a vital component in the education of all soldiers and a key task of military psychologists. A recent report by an Institute of Medicine panel questioned the efficacy of programs like CSF in the absence of much scientific evidence that they actually promote resilience and psychological health.[2]
Chapter 6, "Winning Hearts and Minds," stresses the value of cultural sensitivity and cultural competence, which have received much attention during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Matthews believes cultural training and education should be expanded at all levels in the military.
Matthews writes that psychologists are starting to realize that combat leadership differs from leadership in other settings, citing the work of Brig.
This is an interesting portion of the book, but the study of in extremis leadership is still in its infancy and Matthews leaves the question of exactly how to produce superior combat leaders to future psychologists.
The ninth chapter, "Leading Others in the Digital Age," treats the effects that changes in command and control technologies will have on future war making; in particular, he anticipates a concomitant need to change leadership models.
Chapter 10, "The Twenty-First Century Patton," reviews current Army leadership doctrine and the competencies and attributes future military leaders will need to exhibit. Matthews considers trust the cornerstone of military leadership. He explains the IROC (Individual-Relationship-Organization-Context) model of trust development (163). The chapter concludes with a daunting prediction that future military leaders will need to be egalitarian rather than authoritarian, transformational rather than transactional, culturally savvy, adaptive in their thinking, technologically smart, politically well informed, socially intelligent, appreciative of value diversity, committed to attaining objectives with minimal loss of life, and able to work in a joint, interagency, and multinational environment.
Chapter 11, "Building Better Soldiers through Science," "speculates on ways that psychologists might influence how the military prepares for and fights wars of the future" (177). Matthews considers cutting-edge fields like neuroscience and epigenetics. Increased understanding of brain-function chemistry might lead to drugs that improve responses to stress or sleep deprivation. And genetic science may hold the potential to enhance resilience. The most controversial possibility Matthews speculates on is the use of operant conditioning or cognitive-based therapy techniques to enable soldiers to perform "adaptive killing"â€"to overcome the reluctance to kill when killing is sanctioned by society, that is, on the battlefield. Matthews grants that the use of such conditioning is fraught with ethical and practical perils, but it is directly pertinent to the subject of his book, the use of psychology to revolutionize warfare.
In chapter 12, "Spin-offs: A Better World through Military Psychology," Matthews maintains that the developments in military psychology he discusses might benefit society as a whole. He identifies the fostering of resilience as the "most significant spin-off from twenty-first century warfare" (201).
Chapter 13, "Psychology, War, Peace, and Ethics," contains some concluding thoughts on "the role of military psychologists in supporting war … [as well as] what the discipline of psychology offers in promoting peace" (214). To preempt critics who view military psychologists as acting counter to peace because they support war, he provides examples of the peaceful applications of developments in the profession. He follows up this discussion with a defense of military psychologists as ethical practitioners and scientists.
To write "a book about how psychology can help win the wars of the twenty-first century" (229) is a challenging enough endeavor, but it is complicated here by the targeting of both professional and lay readers and the inclusion of an account of psychology in warfare in the past as well as the present and future. Nonspecialists may not understand the psychological concepts and models that pervade the book and military professionals may not care to review past and current practices with which they are already quite familiar. And, too, Matthews casts his net too wide in trying to cover topics as different as the selection and entry training of soldiers on the one hand, and matters of combat leadership on the other. He provides tantalizing glimpses of how military psychology might influence war making in the future, but leaves the details to future psychologists to work out.
ICAMP 2011, 30 April 2011 [cached]
Michael D. Matthews
Michael D. Matthews is currently Professor of Engineering Psychology at the United States Military Academy, where is the Director of the Engineering Psychology Program. He is a former Air Force officer with tours of duty at the U.S. Air Force Human Resources Laboratory and as a faculty member at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Dr. Matthews was selected as a Templeton Foundation Positive Psychology Fellow and much of his research focuses on applying Positive Psychology principles to military contexts. He is on the Science Advisory Board for the Military Child Education Coalition, and served as President of the American Psychological Association's Division of Military Psychology from 2007 to 2008. Collectively, his research interests center on Soldier performance in combat and other dangerous contexts.
Dr. Matthews is a regular consultant to senior Army leadership on matters pertaining to Soldier and Leader performance and psychological fitness. Recently, he has consulted with the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army on the development of a strategic plan to improve the psychological fitness of Soldiers, their Families, and of Army Civilians. Based on principles of Positive Psychology, the Army has launched the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program. A model of corporate fitness, the CSF focuses on the building and enriching of human strengths, their assessment, and evidence-based methods of enhancing the emotional, social, family, and spiritual fitness of Army personnel. A Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Dr. Matthews speaks regularly to Army and civic groups on matters of personal and organizational resilience. He is the author of coauthor of over 150 scientific articles, and is an associate editor for the journal Military Psychology.
In his spare time, Dr. Matthews enjoys hiking, running, and bicycling. He has climbed and trekked in remote mountain areas around the world, including the Andes, Himalaya, and Atlas Mountains.
About Living in the New Normal » Living in the New Normal, 15 April 2011 [cached]
Mike D. Matthews, Ph.D. Professor of Engineering Psychology, United States Military Academy (NY) American Psychological Association Region 19 past president
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