Use of head camera-cued recall and debrief to externalise expertise: a systematic review of literature from multiple fields of practice

Vivienne Isabella Blackhall* (Corresponding Author), Kenneth Grant Walker, Iya Whiteley, Philip Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Background The study of decision making in complex naturalistic environments poses several challenges. In response to these, video-stimulated cued-recall-debrief was developed. It involves an individual wearing a head-mounted camera which records a task from their point of view. Afterwards, footage captured is reviewed along with a facilitated debrief to help externalise cognitive processes. In theory, motion, audio and visual cues generate a high level of experiential immersion which helps the expert to articulate previously hidden thoughts and actions. Objective To examine the current evidence for video-stimulated cued-recall-debrief as a means of explicating expert thoughts and feelings in complex tasks in a range of environments. Study selection MEDLINE, EMBASE, Education Resources Information Center, SPORTDiscus, PsycINFO and Google Scholar were searched for articles containing the key terms ‘cued-recall (debrief)’, ‘decision making’, ‘skills’ and ‘video recording’. Studies were included if they examined the following outcomes: (1) feasibility, (2) extent of experiential immersion, (3) ability to generate unique insight into decision-making processes and (4) current applications. 1831 articles were identified initially, and 9 studies were included in the final review. Findings Video-stimulated cued-recall-debrief is associated with a high level of experiential immersion and generates between two and four times the number of recollections compared with free recall. It can be used to build models of cognitive activity and to characterise the way in which more and less skilled individuals tend to think and feel. Conclusions The technique could be used to explicate expertise within medicine: these insights into performance could be used as a training tool for other practitioners. Trial registration number CRD42017057484.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-129
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Simulation & Technology Enhanced Learning
Issue number3
Early online date16 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgements: Professor Jennifer Cleland (Centre for Health Education
Research and Innovation, College of Life Sciences and Medicine, University of
Aberdeen) advised on the methodology. Database expertise was provided by Rob
Polson, senior librarian at the Centre for Health Science, Inverness.

Funding: No funding was received for this work.


  • decision making
  • expert
  • recall debrief
  • skills


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