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Deliberation's blindsight: how cognitive load can improve judgments


Hoffmann, Janina A; von Helversen, Bettina; Rieskamp, Jörg (2013). Deliberation's blindsight: how cognitive load can improve judgments. Psychological Science, 24(6):869-879.

Abstract

Multitasking poses a major challenge in modern work environments by putting the worker under cognitive load. Performance decrements often occur when people are under high cognitive load because they switch to less demanding--and often less accurate--cognitive strategies. Although cognitive load disturbs performance over a wide range of tasks, it may also carry benefits. In the experiments reported here, we showed that judgment performance can increase under cognitive load. Participants solved a multiple-cue judgment task in which high performance could be achieved by using a similarity-based judgment strategy but not by using a more demanding rule-based judgment strategy. Accordingly, cognitive load induced a shift to a similarity-based judgment strategy, which consequently led to more accurate judgments. By contrast, shifting to a similarity-based strategy harmed judgments in a task best solved by using a rule-based strategy. These results show how important it is to consider the cognitive strategies people rely on to understand how people perform in demanding work environments.

Abstract

Multitasking poses a major challenge in modern work environments by putting the worker under cognitive load. Performance decrements often occur when people are under high cognitive load because they switch to less demanding--and often less accurate--cognitive strategies. Although cognitive load disturbs performance over a wide range of tasks, it may also carry benefits. In the experiments reported here, we showed that judgment performance can increase under cognitive load. Participants solved a multiple-cue judgment task in which high performance could be achieved by using a similarity-based judgment strategy but not by using a more demanding rule-based judgment strategy. Accordingly, cognitive load induced a shift to a similarity-based judgment strategy, which consequently led to more accurate judgments. By contrast, shifting to a similarity-based strategy harmed judgments in a task best solved by using a rule-based strategy. These results show how important it is to consider the cognitive strategies people rely on to understand how people perform in demanding work environments.

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14 citations in Web of Science®
12 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:June 2013
Deposited On:03 Mar 2017 09:38
Last Modified:05 Mar 2017 06:01
Publisher:Sage Publications Ltd.
ISSN:0956-7976
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797612463581
PubMed ID:23575598

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