Absence of DOA Effect but No Proper Test of the Lumberjack Effect: A Reply to Jamieson and Skraaning (2019)
Objective: The aim was to evaluate the relevance of the critique offered by Jamieson and Skraaning (2019) regarding the applicability of the lumberjack effect of human–automation interaction to complex real-world settings. Background: The lumberjack effect, based upon a meta-analysis, identifies the consequences of a higher degree of automation—to improve performance and reduce workload—when automation functions as intended, but to degrade performance more, as mediated by a loss of situation awareness (SA) when automation fails. Jamieson and Skraaning provide data from a process control scenario that they assert contradicts the effect. Approach: We analyzed key aspects of their simulation, measures, and results which we argue limit the strength of their conclusion that the lumberjack effect is not applicable to complex real-world systems. Results: Our analysis revealed limits in their inappropriate choice of automation, the lack of a routine performance measure, support for the lumberjack effect that was actually provided by subjective measures of the operators, an inappropriate assessment of SA, and a possible limitation of statistical power. Conclusion: We regard these limitations as reasons to temper the strong conclusions drawn by the authors, of no applicability of the lumberjack effect to complex environments. Their findings should be used as an impetus for conducting further research on human–automation interaction in these domains. Applications: The collective findings of both Jamieson and Skraaning and our study are applicable to system designers and users in deciding upon the appropriate level of automation to deploy.
Published in: Human Factors: The Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 10.1177/0018720820901957, SAGE
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