Cognitive limitations in coordination in hierarchical information processing structures
Armbruster, Robert R.
Sovereign, Michael G.
Kemple, William G.
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In Command and Control, the majority of decisions require the fusion of inputs from a number of subordinate decision-makers, to arrive at a team decision. Part of the Navy's attempt to address the issue of hierarchical decision making is the Tactical Decision Making Under Stress (TADMUS) program. Under this program, the Coordination in Hierarchical Processing Structures (CHIPS) experiment was conducted at the Naval Postgraduate School during May and June, 1993. The CHIPS experiment is described, and data collected during the experiment used to assess the impact of human cognitive limitations on team performance. Team performance was found to be degraded by increased stress, increased risk and increased feedback to subordinates in the hierarchy. These effects were found to be due to a reduced ability to distinguish between types of contact, rather than use of a less optimal decision criterion. It was further found that increasing the amount of information available to subordinates increased their ability to distinguish between types of contacts, but not by as much as is theoretically possible. There were also indications that there may be an upper limit on the amount of information that can be successfully integrated by the subordinates, beyond which performance declines rather than improving.
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