The Effect of Information Load on Transmission Rate in a Complex Decision-Making Task.
PURDUE UNIV LAFAYETTE IND
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Subjects participated as four-man teams in a complex decision-making task. Each team was separated into two groups an information acquisition dyad and a decision-making dyad. All information was received by the information acquisition group. The groups of each team were able to communicate with each other by telephone. The effect of various levels of suboptimal, optimal, and superoptimal information load on communication frequency between the two groups was investigated. It was found that information acquisition groups initiated more telephone conversations to the decision-making groups as the quantity of information they received information load increased. Neither a potential prediction that calls would relate to information load in a 11 fashion nor a potential prediction that calls would be initiated at the rate of one every three minutes was supported. Previous research based on complexity theory had shown that decision makers respond optimally to a constant rate of one item of information every 3 minutes. Rather, information acquisition groups made more calls than justified by the information load when load was suboptimal, but less than one every three minutes. Further, they reduced the number of calls below the number of informative items they received when information load was superoptimal, but made more than one call per three-minute period. The data suggest that an information acquisition group can be of some value in optimizing information flow to decision makers. Author