Combat Identification Decision Making: Effect of a Secondary Task
DEFENCE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT TORONTO (CANADA)
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Two experiments used a dual task method to investigate whether compensatory and heuristic decision rules are based on distinct computational systems. Subjects learned to classify pictures of soldiers as friend or foe through trial-error learning then completed a test session designed to allow inference of subjects decision strategies. In both experiments, subjects completed a condition in which they performed a simultaneous secondary task designed to consume executive working memory capacity 35, either at the time of test Experiment 1 or during the training session Experiment 2. In both cases, subjects exhibited slower responses when performing the secondary task than in a control condition, indicating that the secondary task competed for cognitive resources. The presence of the secondary task, however, produced significantly slower responses for those subjects classified as using a simple heuristic as opposed to a more complex compensatory strategy, which is consistent with research linking heuristics to a deliberate classification system and compensatory strategies to an automatic system. The secondary task manipulation, however, did not affect the proportions of subjects using the heuristic and compensatory decision rules. The results of two experiments suggest that heuristic and compensatory decision rules are mediated by different classification systems. The presence of competing cognitive demands, however, does not seem to affect whether a subject uses an heuristic or compensatory strategy.
- Operations Research