The search for HMAS Sydney II: Analysis and integration of survivor reports

John C. Dunn, Kim Kirsner

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    We describe a novel application of cognitive psychology to the search for HMAS Sydney II and HSK Kormoran. Both ships sank off the west coast of Australia following an engagement during World War II. Tragically and mysteriously, there were no survivors from Sydney and, despite considerable interest in locating both ships, their positions remained unknown until their discovery in March 2008. The main evidence regarding the location of both ships consisted of reports by the German survivors from Kormoran. Working with the Finding Sydney Foundation, the group that ultimately found the ships, we developed a method to extract relevant information from these reports and to integrate it with other physical information and used this method to correctly identify the location of Kormoran to within 5km. We describe this method and discuss the unique role played by cognitive psychology in solving a previously intractable problem.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)513-527
    Number of pages15
    JournalApplied Cognitive Psychology
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2011


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