Michael D. Matthews's research while affiliated with United States Military Academy West Point and other places

Publications (83)

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Individual preference for morning or evening activities (chronotype), affect, hardiness, and talent are associated with a variety of performance outcomes. This longitudinal study was designed to investigate the degree to which these variables are associated with academic, physical, and military performance. Self-reported measures of chronotype, aff...
Chapter
Most college undergraduates are Millennials or Generation Z members. These generations are ferocious social media consumers across a range of platforms. Research exists on the U.S. military’s adoption of social media, but less is known about the everyday implications of social media use and how service members might differ in their uses from their...
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Although many studies have compared military vs. civilian samples on a wide variety of characteristics, few have examined these differences within the context of those who commit a portion of their life to the military. In this study, we explored how West Point cadets with (“military brat cadet”) or without (“non-brat cadet”) a family military back...
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This study examined several performance scores of cadets at the United States Military Academy (USMA) and whether these scores formed profiles related to specific character attributes. USMA presupposes that, in order to train commissioned leaders of character, cadet performance and character-building should be closely linked. Prior research from th...
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When predicting success, how important are personal attributes other than cognitive ability? To address this question, we capitalized on a full decade of prospective, longitudinal data from n = 11,258 cadets entering training at the US Military Academy at West Point. Prior to training, cognitive ability was negatively correlated with both physical...
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In an increasingly complex and fast-paced world, organizations must develop strategies to enhance or optimize worker performance in order to achieve their goals. This is especially true, for example, in the military, where highly skilled and competent personnel are needed, and where, because of lengthy training requirements and financial constraint...
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In addition to enhancing cognitive and physical performance, an emerging body of research focuses on noncognitive factors in human performance. Prior studies of human performance consistently suggest that cognitive factors (intelligence, learning, and specific cognitive abilities) account for about 25% of variation in measured performance. This cha...
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This chapter summarizes and integrates the various approaches to optimizing human performance addressed in this book. Strategies for performance enhancement are evaluated across the three main domains of focus in this volume—physical, cognitive, and social. Moreover, for each domain, the authors offer suggestions for those that may be applied in th...
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Research about the structure of character has largely assessed purported universal attributes. However, character develops within specific social, cultural and institutional contexts. As part of the first wave of a longitudinal study (Project Arete) of character development among cadets at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point, an...
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This chapter describes the wide range of duties and responsibilities of psychologists employed by the nation’s military service academies. These academies employ large numbers of uniformed and civilian military psychologists. In addition to teaching, service academy psychologists engage in counseling and clinical practice, coaching and performance...
Book
https://rowman.com/ISBN/9781498528603/Inclusion-in-the-American-Military-A-Force-for-Diversity#
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The personality variables of hardiness and grit are conceptualized as helpful to people in dealing effectively with challenging stressful circumstances. In a relevant study (Maddi, Matthews, Kelly, Villarreal, & White, 2012) at the United States Military Academy at West Point, cadets were measured for hardiness and grit before they began their trai...
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A paucity of literature exists on the processes of character development within diverse contexts. In this article, the authors use the United States Military Academy at West Point (USMA) as a sample case for understanding character development processes within an institution of higher education. The authors present a discussion of relational develo...
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The repeal of combat restrictions by gender raises the importance of understanding factors related to the acceptance of women serving in the full range of military jobs. Previous research shows military affiliated cadets, especially males, are substantially less approving of women serving in military jobs, especially those involving exposure to dir...
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African-Americans in the U.S. military encompass at least two distinct identity groups: A racial status associated with lower support for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and a military status which tends to be more 'hawkish' in perspective. This study examines the intersection of these two status characteristics utilizing survey data of American...
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We explore American military academy, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and civilian undergraduate attitudes toward transgender people in general, in the workplace, and in the military. Earlier this decade, the US military experienced both the repeal of the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy and the exclusion of women from combat, yet transgender...
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The U.S. Military Academy has historically used an academically weighted composite of aptitude, leadership, and physical ability indices for selection of candidates and to predict their performance at the Academy. Researchers at West Point have begun to investigate the incremental contribution of a variety of less traditional nonaptitude or noncogn...
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Objective The deleterious neurocognitive effects of laboratory-controlled short-term sleep deprivation are well-known. The present study investigated neurocognitive changes arising from chronic sleep restriction outside the laboratory. Methods Sleep patterns of 24 undergraduates were tracked via actigraphy across a 15-week semester. At the semeste...
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Collective self-esteem refers to individuals’ evaluations of their social identities, their group affiliations. Private collective self-esteem includes assessments of how individuals privately evaluate their social group or groups while public collective self-esteem assesses how individuals believe others evaluate their social group or groups. This...
Chapter
This chapter puts forth how the Millennial generation views the current armed services, future service, and national service in the United States. Explored specifically are the Millennials’ views of serving for and in the military, their own willingness to serve, and the factors associated with supporting military service and/or national service ac...
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The conclusion answers two main questions: Can the military survive if civilians do not support it both in attitude and deeds? Has a civilian-military fusion turned up in the years since 9/11? We discuss the implications of the findings for future research. Research informs us about Millenial service participation in American society. Who shoulders...
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How diverse is the military? Are civilians and cadets open to a heterogeneous armed forces? This chapter discusses Millennial attitudes toward diverse groups in the military, specifically gender and sexual orientation. Civilian Millennials may be more idealistic while their military peers respond from a practice perspective. There is some support f...
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The military for what? Millennials respond to what they think the US armed forces should be doing both in the US (such as domestic disaster relief) and around the world (such as peacekeeping, war, and nation building). Current military-affiliated and civilian Millennials are compared to those of the past. Both civilians and military affiliates toda...
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Who are the Millennials? This chapter provides a review of the literature on this cohort born in the late 1970s up through 2000. Their characteristics are described and the significant events that have shaped the Millennial generation are highlighted with an eye toward connections to national defense. Second, the chapter provides a description of t...
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This chapter focuses on specific uses of the military: fighting war and terrorism. Great differences are uncovered regarding military-affiliates’ attitudes toward the war in Iraq but less for Afghanistan. The findings point to similarities and differences that are case specific relative to the specific war or type of war. Millennial youth today are...
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Sleep disturbance is a common feature of depression. However, recent work has found that individuals who are vulnerable to depression report poorer sleep quality compared to their low-risk counterparts, suggesting that sleep disturbance may precede depression. In addition, both sleep disturbance and depression are related to deficits in cognitive c...
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Military Psychologists' Desk Reference is the authoritative guide in the field of military mental health, covering in a clear and concise manner the depth and breadth of this expanding area at a pivotal and relevant time. It brings together the field's top experts to provide concise and targeted reviews of the most salient aspects of military menta...
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To perform effectively in complex mission environments, security personnel and leaders must be flexible and adaptable in responding to rapidly changing conditions. Psychological hardiness marks resilient people who maintain their health and performance despite stressful situations. The present study evaluates psychological hardiness at entry to Wes...
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The authors investigate a gap in attitudes toward homosexuals in the U.S. military among a select group of people—American civilian undergraduates, Reserve Officer Training Corp (ROTC) cadets, and cadets at military academies. Using a subsample (N = 3057) of data from the Biannual Attitude Survey of Students (BASS), being a military academy cadet i...
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We examined the relative effectiveness of hardiness and grit as predictors of performance and retention among first year cadets at the USMA. Based on past research and theory, we expected that both hardiness and grit would predict unique variance in performance and retention even after controlling for past performance as measured by the Whole Candi...
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Sleep deprivation has a complex set of neurological effects that go beyond a mere slowing of mental processes. While cognitive and perceptual impairments in sleep deprived individuals are widespread, some abilities remain intact. In an effort to characterize these effects, some have suggested an impairment of complex decision making ability despite...
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The purpose of this paper is to consider the use of heart rate as a potential indicator for predicting both susceptibility and resilience in Soldiers who have not yet deployed. Previous research shows positive correlations among stress, negative emotions, heart rate, and PTSD in individuals diagnosed with this disorder. Often times, those with PTSD...
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The purpose of this project is to evaluate the ability of body mass index (BMI) to predict mental resilience in US Army Soldiers. The hypothesis of this proposed study is that Soldiers with a lower BMI will have a higher mental resilience against stress, and will therefore be less likely to develop PTSD while in combat. Our belief is that BMI will...
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Post-traumatic stress disorder and other stress-related illnesses constitute a large number of casualties in the United States Army. To prevent the performance-degradation effects of stress, the concept of stress inoculation develops, which allows for the development of stress resilience through the gradual introduction of stressors. Comprehensive...
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As studies are conducted in search of a metric to measure posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and identify Soldiers who are at risk, attempts are being made to discover a measure that can provide insight into the resilience of a unit and seek to improve a unit's resilience. Using social network analysis (SNA), one may determine the cohesion of a u...
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In the past, research on posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has focused on treating those who exhibit symptoms. However, it may be possible to prevent posttraumatic stress disorder from occurring by increasing an individual's resilience to stress. The military has undertaken preventative measures with programs such as Comprehensive Soldier Fitnes...
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Historically, studies on Soldiers returning from combat focus on the potential for negative health outcomes such as posttraumatic stress disorder. However, current research is also assessing potential positive outcomes associated with combat such as resilience and posttraumatic growth. The Comprehensive Soldier Fitness Program is designed to promot...
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From 2003 to 2008, there were 40,000 cases of PTSD reported among Soldiers. This psychiatric disorder can affect Soldiers behaviorally, biologically, and neurologically. However, PTSD is not the only reaction of Soldiers to traumatic events. Research shows that positive outcomes are a more common reaction to traumatic events. Posttraumatic growth a...
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Known as the "stress hormone,"cortisol is secreted at higher levels in the bloodstream during the body's "fight or flight" response to stress as it is responsible for multiple stress related responses in the body. Moderate increases in cortisol levels can have positive effects on the body as energy levels increase, memory functions are heightened,...
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Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is a neurochemical steroid released in the brain during acute and chronic stresses. Neurosteroids, such as DHEA, have considerable effects on mood and well-being via effects on neurotransmitter receptors in the brain. The release of cortisol over extended periods of time has detrimental effects on the body such as memo...
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The purpose of the proposed study is to determine the relation between sleeping patterns and PTSD. Soldiers that obtain adequate sleep on a regular basis may be more likely to have higher resiliency to the effects of stress than those that have difficulty sleeping. Additionally, Soldiers that have more difficulty sleeping may be more prone to suffe...
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This paper provides a potential method to detect the early onset of, or the possibility of developing, PTSD through a series of tests relating to unconscious emotional facial expressions and physiological responses in conjunction with the resilience training currently offered in the Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) Program. Unconscious emotional...
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The cognitive neural underpinnings of prototype learning are becoming clear. Evidence points to 2 different neural systems, depending on the learning parameters. A/not-A (AN) prototype learning is mediated by posterior brain regions that are involved in early perceptual learning, whereas A/B (AB) is mediated by frontal and medial temporal lobe regi...
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The current study compared expert-observer ratings of situation awareness (SA) with subjective self-ratings of SA in Norwegian military academy cadets during a summer combat survival course. The cadets (N = 30) completed an 8-day combat survival course characterized by sleep and food deprivation, continuous operations, and altered circadian entrain...
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The Comprehensive Soldier Fitness (CSF) program is designed to increase psychological strength and positive performance and to reduce the incidence of maladaptive responses of the entire U.S. Army. Based on the principles of positive psychology, CSF is a historically unique approach to behavioral health in a large (1.1 million members) organization...
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A problem-based learning strategy (Bransford & Schwartz, 1998) was used to develop a training protocol to enhance U.S. Military Academy (USMA) Cadets' awareness of ethical issues and decision-making processes in negotiation situations. The training protocol was tested in an upper-level course on negotiations at USMA. Cadets were assigned to either...
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The present study explored sex and cultural differences in Emotional Intelligence scores in samples from Norway (n = 297) and the United States (n = 234). Significant main effects for sex were found in overall Emotional Intelligence scores and the Empathy factor. In addition, results revealed a small but significant effect for culture in the Self-c...
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A mixed-method research approach was developed to address description, definition, and measurement in ill-defined training domains. A series of research efforts were conducted to demonstrate the approach and assess its viability. The ill-defined domain that served as the vehicle for this effort was the sense-making (perceptual and interpretive) pro...
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Although researchers have examined the situational demands that conventional environments place on leadership, the demands that highly dangerous environments impose on leadership have been much less explored. While investigations in such environments are extremely difficult to conduct, such research is essential if we are to understand the function...
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We propose that leadership is uniquely contextualized when confronting dangerous contexts such that specific causations and contingencies occur that are not present in non-dangerous contexts. Yet we know very little about how such leadership operates and what constitutes effective leadership for such dangerous contexts. To guide future research, we...
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Sleep deprivation is a serious problem facing individuals in many critical societal roles. One of the most ubiquitous tasks facing individuals is categorization. Sleep deprivation is known to affect rule-based categorization in the classic Wisconsin Card Sorting Task, but, to date, information-integration categorization has not been examined. To in...
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The current study examined attitudes of West Point cadets (N = 218), Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) cadets (N = 509), and non-military-affiliated students from civilian colleges (N = 598) toward a variety of roles that women may serve in the military. Respondents were queried whether a woman “should” or “should not” serve in the following mi...
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Faculty and cadets at the U.S. Military Academy (West Point) are vitally involved in the Sustaining Performance Under Stress project. A cadet research team completed an experiment that found that a cognitive prime presented during a cortically aroused state was more effective than startle-based prime in maintaining vigilance in a simulated command...
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Many scholars in the 1990s forecasted that the military and the larger society had headed into divergent directions in terms of social attitudes between the military and the larger society. Subsequent empirical research concluded the differences less then acute as originally speculated. Indeed, the modest gap that had existed may have since narrowe...
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Acknowledging social problems is important to social scientists on numerous levels. According to the website of the Society for the Study of Social Problems members “are an interdisciplinary community of scholars, practitioners, advocates, and students interested in the application of critical, scientific, and humanistic perspectives to the study o...
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This article reviews the role of positive psychology–based research and application in advancing the science and practice of military psychology. The role of positive psychology in military training, clinical application, and enhancing the welfare and well-being of military spouses and children is reviewed. Early research suggests that positive psy...
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The importance of intellectual talent to achievement in all professional domains is well established, but less is known about other individual differences that predict success. The authors tested the importance of 1 noncognitive trait: grit. Defined as perseverance and passion for long-term goals, grit accounted for an average of 4% of the variance...
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The United States armed-forces-and-society intersection is explored comparing attitudes toward the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan among West Point, Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), and civilian undergraduates. A survey was administered in January and February 2003 to determine if military affiliation is associated with attitudes toward sendin...
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Positive character strengths, virtues, and values are touted in military doctrine as critical for effective leadership, yet little evidence exists describing such traits in military samples. This study compared West Point cadets (N = 103), Norwegian Naval Academy cadets (N = 141), and U.S. civilians aged 18 to 21 (N = 838) with respect to 24 charac...
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The Situation Awareness Behavioral Rating Scale (SABARS) utilizes ratings by expert observer/controllers (O/Cs) to evaluate situation awareness (SA) of infantry small unit leaders. Previous research (Matthews et al., 2004) showed SABARS to be predictive of a variety of performance measures. The current study explored the question of whether small u...
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The current study examined the relationship between dispositional optimism and situation awareness. A sample of 77 Royal Norwegian Naval Academy and 57 Royal Norwegian Army Academy cadets were administered the Life Orientation Test prior to participating in a field-training exercise involving a series of challenging missions. Following an infantry...
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Shattuck (2001) described the Engineering Psychology program at West Point and how its graduates are prepared to work in interdisciplinary design teams. The current research assessed the academic skills of senior Engineering Psychology cadets in ten basic areas, and compared them with similar measures taken among freshmen and senior leadership and...
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Situation awareness (SA) is a construct closely linked to decision making and performance. Identifying SA requirements for specific jobs is a necessary first step in accurately assessing SA, developing training programs to enhance SA skills, and evaluating the impact of new technology on SA. This research identified the SA requirements for infantry...
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Two methods for assessing situation awareness (SA) were field tested during infantry exercises. Eight platoons of U.S. Military Academy cadets executed an infantry mission during summer field training exercises. A subjective SA measure, the Mission Awareness Rating Scale (MARS), was given to each platoon leader and one squad leader from each platoo...
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The U.S. Army is developing a number of digital command and control systems that convey complicated information through the use of visual icons. The purpose of the current research was to test a method to identify time lapses in the display of such information. Eighteen U.S. Military Academy cadets enrolled in a general psychology course volunteere...
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The U.S. Army is implementing the Land Warrior (LW) system for use by individual infantry soldiers and their leaders. Among its many features, this system includes a wearable computer that allows soldiers and their leaders to communicate digitally. The principle method of data entry for this system is through a miniature keyboard that attaches to t...
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The Mission Awareness Rating Scale (MARS) and the Situation Awareness Behavioral Rating Scale (SABARS) are metrics designed to assess situation awareness (SA) among infantry soldiers and their leaders. MARS is a subjective self-assessment device and SABARS involves expert observer-controllers evaluating a target soldier on SA-related behaviors. The...
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Understanding the evolving, complex events on a battlefield requires a decision maker to gather and integrate data from disparate sources. The work described herein is the final in a series of studies that investigates the decision making processes employed by military decision makers. Twenty-one Army officers participated in a simulation of an off...
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The current report describes a procedure for training and assessing complex decision-making in a virtual environment. Focusing on small unit leaders, 7 experienced and 7 inexperienced Army platoon leaders performed missions in a combat simulator, where they were required to direct the activities of 3 subordinate leaders and computer-generated force...
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The current report describes a procedure for training and assessing complex decision-making in a virtual environment. Focusing on small unit leaders, 7 experienced and 7 inexperienced Army platoon leaders performed missions in a combat simulator. where they were required to direct the activities of 3 subordinate leaders and computer-gene rated forc...
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The Mission Awareness Rating Scale (MARS), a subjective situation awareness (SA) rating scale designed to assess SA content and SA workload, was tested in a series of virtual environment exercises. Sixteen enlisted soldiers, working in teams of four soldiers each, completed four urban combat missions in a virtual night environment designed to simul...
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The military is rapidly importing digital technology into its ground forces. The U.S. Army, for example, is developing the Land Warrior system that will link infantry soldiers and units together via digital communications and imaging. These changes have profound implications concerning how soldiers will move, shoot, and communicate as a team. One r...
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This report documents an effort to investigate the situation awareness (SA) requirements for platoon leaders in a Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain (MOUT) environment. Subject matter experts with extensive infantry experience participated in a goal-directed task analysis to identify the SA requirements of platoon leaders at three levels: Lev...
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This report documents the methods and findings of the Infantry Situation Awareness (SA) project, conducted to develop a model and measures of SA for the unique Infantry operational environment The research team analyzed the complexities of the Infantryman's environment based on the tactical parameters of mission, enemy, terrain, troops, time availa...
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The U.S. Army Research Institute is developing models and measures of situation awareness (SA) for infantry operations. Situation awareness requirements will vary with the type of mission, the nature of the enemy, weather, terrain, and a host of other factors. The current research represents the first systematic attempt to determine infantry SA req...
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This volume contains papers developed from the Infantry Situation Awareness Workshop, held at Fort Benning, Georgia, 29-30 September 1998. It consists of 16 chapters representing the views of key program participants on Infantry situation awareness (SA) issues. Specifically, five questions were addressed: (1) What the most critical Infantry SA requ...

Citations

... A small, but growing number of studies have started examining the importance of character strengths for succeeding in military settings (e.g. Cosentino and Solano 2012;Duckworth et al. 2007;Kehoe 2015a, 2015b;Gosnell et al. 2020;Kelly et al. 2014;Maddi et al. 2012;Matthews 2008;. Matthews (2008) claimed that 'from the in extremis perspective, leadership under conditions of mortality salience, that is, conditions where risk of serious injury or death is present, may require different skills sets than leadership in the corporate world or on a sports team'. ...
... In their mission to develop exceptional leaders, service academies purposefully design cadets' lives to encourage their character development and internalize military values such as loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage 6 (e.g., U.S. Army core values; McNally et al., 1996;Murray et al., 2021). In addition, decision heuristics developed within this infrastructure are reinforced daily such that cadets can more easily identify instances whereby the 'appropriate action' is desired. ...
... Likewise, interventions focused on enhancing growth mindset are thought to have positive impact on academic achievement 5,7,35 . These findings are broadly consistent with the notion that motivational aspects of learning are critical for individuals' success 36 . Critically, longitudinal assessments of both growth mindset and cognitive abilities have been surprisingly rare. ...
... Although many potential areas of difference may exist between brat and non-brat military members, an area we were interested in exploring is that of character strengths. Character has been argued to be one of the most important non-cognitive predictors of optimal human performance (Matthews, Lerner, & Annen, 2019). Prior work on character development utilizing the Relational Developmental Systems model has argued that character emerges not just as a function of the individual but along with the context and interactions in which individuals find themselves (Lerner & Callina, 2014). ...
... The percentage of single authors has declined markedly (to 45%), and the percentages of two, three, and four authors have increased. Three articles published in the last decade had ten authors (Callina et al., 2019;Glover et al., 2014;Wang et al., 2015). This is most likely to be related to the increasing number of empirical studies reported as fewer theoretical or philosophical papers are likely to be multi-authored. ...
... Second, the implications of military service stretch beyond battlefield performance and wartime consequences to broader political and social stakes. Military service and sacrifice can be a powerful rhetorical tool to make claims to firstclass citizenship (Armor, 1996b;Burk, 1995;Krebs, 2006Krebs, , 2009Rohall et al., 2017b;Snyder, 2003). However, not all groups have been able to use military service to claim citizenship rights. ...
... For decades, researchers have examined how psychological factors operate and enhance one's ability to perform in various settings, including, but not limited to, academics (e.g., Ayala et al., 2018;Duckworth et al., 2011;Kotzé et al., 2013), management and business (e.g., Jordan et al., 2019;McManus et al., 2007, Mooradian et al., 2016, athletics (Sarkar & Fletcher, 2014, Madrigal et al., 2016, and the military (e.g., Bartone, 1999;Zakin et al., 2003). Research indicates three human characteristics that contribute to performance in these settings: resilience (e.g., Ledford et al., 2020), hardiness (e.g., Beasley et al., 2003;Westman, 1990), and grit (e.g., Caza & Posner, 2019;Maddi et al., 2017). These psychological characteristics are particularly important for those operating in high-stress environments, especially those in the military (Bartone, 2006;Eid & Morgan, 2006;Kelly et al., 2014;Matthews, 2008). ...
... Military professionals are generally found to demonstrate such skills and knowledge, which help them succeed in severely stressful conditions (Ralph et al. 2017). Additionally, military training develops a strong sense of dedication to the community (Callina et al. 2017;Jackson et al. 2012;Martin 2017;Ralph et al. 2017). ...
... En aquel entonces se evidenciaba que el rol de la mujer en el Ejército aún no lograba definir factores de gran importancia, por ejemplo, el valor de su participación en las operaciones militares. Con respecto a esto, autores como Rohall et al. (2006), King (2013), Duncanson y Woodward (2016) y Laurence et al. (2016) plantean la necesidad de utilizar el concepto de capacidades y competencias en el marco de oportunidades como factor determinante de equidad entre hombres y mujeres. ...
... (3) the observer rating technique such as the situational awareness behavioral rating technique [62]; (4) the self-rating technique such as the crew and mission awareness scale and situational awareness review technique (SART) [23]; (5) the freeze rating technique that is a situational awareness global assessment technique (SAGAT). All these above techniques have some benefits and drawbacks. ...