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Decision Making in a Dynamic Task Environment: The Effect of Time Pressure

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Final rept.

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Two experiments were conducted to investigate time pressure effects on both the selected decision strategy and the quality of task performance. A dynamic task environment was used. Subjects were required to monitor the continuously changing fitness level of an athlete, and to recover the athlete whenever fitness decline had a physiological cause. Time pressure was defined by the rate at which the fitness level changed over time. The major decision problem of the subjects was to trade-off the costs of requesting information against the increasing risk of a costly consequence. The experiments differed in the incentive scheme that was used in the first experiment, the subjects increased their chance or. a bonus by saving time, whereas in the second experiment they could directly save on money. Both experiments showed a speed-up of information processing as time pressure increased. In the first experiment subjects started to request information at the saw fitness Levels in all time pressure conditions, whereas in second experiment subjects started to request information at higher fitness Levels when time pressure increased. However, in both experiments performance equally deteriorated under time pressure, as indicated by the number of athlete collapses. It is concluded that even though the subjects changed their strategy and increased their speed of information processing under time pressure, performance declined more than predicted by time constraints alone. This extra effect is ascribed to the characteristics of the task environment. Coping behaviour, Information processing, Decision making, Effects of time pressure, Human performance, Psychological stress, Time.

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  • Administration and Management

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