Title page for ETD etd-04162009-183500

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Tall, Jonathan
Author's Email Address jtall1@tigers.lsu.edu
URN etd-04162009-183500
Title Supporting Decision Making in a Complex World
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Psychology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robert Mathews Committee Chair
Emily Elliott Committee Member
Sean Lane Committee Member
  • decision making
  • cognitive support
Date of Defense 2008-12-12
Availability unrestricted
Recent research has questioned whether explicit thinking is necessary or even useful for complex decision making (Gladwell, 2005; Dijksterhuis & Nordgren, 2006; Newell, Wong, Cheung, & Rakow, in press). The present research approaches this issue by examining how different types of decision support facilitate/hinder performance in a diagnostic medical task. The results from 3 experiments indicate that providing an external memory aid improves performance in complex tasks. Additional support in the form of a coding procedure improved awareness of the magnitude of drug effects, but did not improve detection of negative side effects. The results suggest that while performance is improved, participants prescribed the correct treatments for the wrong reasons. Important differences in task representation (and resulting knowledge) due to the different forms of decision support are also discussed.
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