Heuristic-based information acquisition and decision making among pilots

Mark W. Wiggins*, Sandra Bollwerk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: This research was designed to examine the impact of heuristic-based approaches to the acquisition of task-related information on the selection of an optimal alternative during simulated in-flight decision making. Background: The work integrated features of naturalistic and normative decision making and strategies of information acquisition within a computer-based, decision support framework. Method: The study comprised two phases, the first of which involved familiarizing pilots with three different heuristic-based strategies of information acquisition: frequency, elimination by aspects, and majority of confirming decisions. The second stage enabled participants to choose one of the three strategies of information acquisition to resolve a fourth (choice) scenario. Results: The results indicated that task-oriented experience, rather than the information acquisition strategies, predicted the selection of the optimal alternative. It was also evident that of the three strategies available, the elimination by aspects in formation acquisition strategy was preferred by most participants. Conclusion: It was concluded that task-oriented experience, rather than the process of information acquisition, predicted task accuracy during the decision-making task. It was also concluded that pilots have a preference for one particular approach to information acquisition. Application: Applications of outcomes of this research include the development of decision support systems that adapt to the information-processing capabilities and preferences of users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)734-746
Number of pages13
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


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