Learning Effects on Strategy Selection in a Dynamic Task Environment as a Function of Time Pressure
HUMAN FACTORS RESEARCH INST TNO SOESTERBERG (NETHERLANDS)
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Previous research on strategy selection in dynamic task environments indicated that subjects preferred to request information first, before an action was applied, even when the straightforward application of actions would have resulted in more optimal performance. Furthermore, this strategy was also used when subjects only had limited time for diagnosis. In the present experiment it was investigated whether the amount of training could account for the limited use that subjects made of the task dynamics. Subjects were required to monitor the changing fitness level of an athlete, by means of a graph on a computer screen, and to apply treatments whenever necessary. They could request various symptoms that would provide an indication for the cause underlying a possible fitness decline. The subjects either received limited training or elaborate training and they had either sufficient time for diagnosis, or worked under time pressure. The results showed that the amount of training did not affect the strategy that subjects used half of the subjects used a judgment-oriented strategy and the other half used an action-oriented strategy in both training conditions. However, the well trained subjects were superior in selecting information and they processed the information at a faster rate than the subjects with only minimal training. The time pressure effects replicated previous findings subjects used the same strategy and speeded up information processing. A high level of time pressure only deteriorated the information integration processes of the subjects who had received only minimal training, but not that of the well-trained subjects.