Under Pressure. Influence of different types of feedback on decision making performance in stressful situations
MetadataShow full item record
People in emergency professions, such as firefighters or soldiers, often have to work and make decisions with life or death consequences in stressful conditions. To help people in emergency professions make better decisions while stressed, the ‘Cognitive Feedback System’ (CFSystem) has been developed. The CFSystem can support a stressed person while performing a task or making decisions by providing its users with three kinds of feedback: biofeedback, a prediction on their performance and a prediction of four types of cognitive errors stressed people have been found to make often when performing a task. The CFSystem can provide its users with more than one type of feedback at a time. The current experiment was set up to study which type of feedback or combination of types of feedback helps users improve their performance, reduces stress or is the most user-friendly. User-friendliness was measured using the System Usability Scale. Participants had to perform a fire-fighting computer simulation while they were supported by eight different combinations of feedback from the CFSystem. Although usability of the feedback provided by the CFSystem was not good, providing feedback did help participants improve their performance. The combination of biofeedback, performance-prediction and error-prediction was the only combination of feedback that helped participants improve their performance and was the best combination of feedback to help stressed users make better decisions. Because participants are expected to benefit more from feedback with better usability, usability of the feedback should be improved. Results also implied that feedback was processed implicitly and that implicitly processed feedback was more helpful to participants than explicitly processed feedback. More research should be done on how implicit processes in decision making work and how implicit processing can be used to help people in emergency professions improve performance even more.