Simple strategies or simple tasks? Dynamic decision making in 'complex' worlds

Alex Kirlik, Ling Rothrock, Neff Walker, Arthur D. Fisk

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Decision makers in operational environments perform in a world of dynamism, time pressure, and uncertainty. Perhaps the most stable empirical finding to emerge from naturalistic studies in these domains is that, despite apparent task complexity, performers only rarely report the use of complex, enumerative decision strategies. If we accept that decision making in these domains is often effective, we are presented with a dilemma: either decision strategies are (covertly) more complex than these performers claim, or these tasks are (subtly) more simple than they might appear. We present a set of empirical findings and modeling results which suggest the latter explanation: that the simplicity of decision making is not merely apparent but largely real, and that tasks of high apparent complexity may yet admit to rather simple types of decision strategies. We also discuss empirical evidence that sheds light on the error forms resulting from the tendency of performers to seek and employ heuristic solutions to dynamic, uncertain decision problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)184-188
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society
StatePublished - Jan 1 1996
EventProceedings of the 1996 40th Annual Meeting of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. Part 1 (of 2) - Philadelphia, PA, USA
Duration: Sep 2 1996Sep 6 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics


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