The application of reduced-processing decision support systems to facilitate the acquisition of decision-making skills

Nathan C. Perry*, Mark W. Wiggins, Merilyn Childs, Gerard Fogarty

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Objective: The study was designed to examine whether the availability of reduced-processing decision support system interfaces could improve the decision making of inexperienced personnel in the context of firefighting. Background: Although research into reduced-processing decision support systems has demonstrated benefits in minimizing cognitive load, these benefits have not typically translated into direct improvements in decision accuracy because of the tendency for inexperienced personnel to focus on less-critical information. The authors investigated whether reduced-processing interfaces that direct users' attention toward the most critical cues for decision making can produce improvements in decision-making performance. Method: Novice participants made incident command-related decisions in experimental conditions that differed according to the amount of information that was available within the interface, the level of control that they could exert over the presentation of information, and whether they had received decision training. Results: The results revealed that despite receiving training, participants improved in decision accuracy only when they were provided with an interface that restricted information access to the most critical cues. Conclusion: It was concluded that an interface that restricts information access to only the most critical cues in the scenario can facilitate improvements in decision performance. Application: Decision support system interfaces that encourage the processing of the most critical cues have the potential to improve the accuracy and timeliness of decisions made by inexperienced personnel.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)535-544
    Number of pages10
    JournalHuman Factors
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2013


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