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Human performance consequences of automated decision aids: The impact of time pressure

Rieger, Tobias; Manzey, Dietrich

Objective The study addresses the impact of time pressure on human interactions with automated decision support systems (DSSs) and related performance consequences. Background When humans interact with DSSs, this often results in worse performance than could be expected from the automation alone. Previous research has suggested that time pressure might make a difference by leading humans to rely more on a DSS. Method In two laboratory experiments, participants performed a luggage screening task either manually, supported by a highly reliable DSS, or by a low reliable DSS. Time provided for inspecting the X-rays was 4.5 s versus 9 s varied within-subjects as the time pressure manipulation. Participants in the automation conditions were either shown the automation’s advice prior (Experiment 1) or following (Experiment 2) their own inspection, before they made their final decision. Results In Experiment 1, time pressure compromised performance independent of whether the task was performed manually or with automation support. In Experiment 2, the negative impact of time pressure was only found in the manual but not in the two automation conditions. However, neither experiment revealed any positive impact of time pressure on overall performance, and the joint performance of human and automation was mostly worse than the performance of the automation alone. Conclusion Time pressure compromises the quality of decision-making. Providing a DSS can reduce this effect, but only if the automation’s advice follows the assessment of the human. Application The study provides suggestions for the effective implementation of DSSs in addition to supporting concerns that highly reliable DSSs are not used optimally by human operators.
Published in: Human Factors : The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 10.1177/0018720820965019, SAGE