Information Gathering and Decisionmaking Under Stress
ALPHATECH INC BURLINGTON MA
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An experiment to investigate the effects of cognitive stress on decisionmaking performance is described. The paradigm involves a single decisionmaker DM whose job is to classify a submarine sonar return as coming from a friendly or enemy boat, on the basis of difference in average pump noise frequency between the two classes. After being given the value of the unknown submarines measured pump frequency, the subject may classify the submarine or for a cost ask for more information. This information is chosen to be either another raw measurement probe or the opinion of an automated consultant. Cognitive stress is operationalized through time pressure and an intrusive secondary task. Two distinct subject populations are used civilian engineering firm employees and college students and military grade 0-4 or above. Four independent variables manipulated stress level, discrimination difficulty, relative information cost between measurement and opinion, and consultant expertise relative to the subjects measurement. Keywords Decisionmaking under stress Information seeking Cognitive stress.