The effect of time pressure on expert system based training for emergency management
In many emergency situations, human operators are required to derive countermeasures based on contingency rules whilst under time pressure. In order to contribute to the human success in playing such a role, the present study intends to examine the effectiveness of using expert systems to train for the time-constrained decision domain. Emergency management of chemical spills was selected to exemplify the rule-based decision task. An Expert System in this domain was developed to serve as the training tool. Forty subjects participated in an experiment in which a computerized information board was used to capture subjects' rule-based performance under the manipulation of time pressure and training. The experiment results indicate that people adapt to time pressure by accelerating their processing of rules where the heuristic of cognitive availability was employed. The simplifying strategy was found to be the source of human error that resulted in undesired decision performance. The results also show that the decision behaviour of individuals who undergo the expert system training is directed to a normative and expeditious pattern, which leads to an improved level of decision accuracy. Implications of these findings are examined in the present study.
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