The sugar production factory—A dynamic decision task

  • Faison P. Gibson

Abstract

This article describes the Sugar Production Factor and its structural equivalent, the Personal Interaction task. These are two simple, individual dynamic decision-making tasks in which subjects make interdependent decisions to reach a goal, and receive feedback on the outcome of their efforts along the way. An important result from human learning experiments using these two tasks and their variants is that subjects reliably improve their ability to reach the goal over a moderate number of training trials (40–90) but do not show consistent improvement in other measures of task knowledge. These other measures focus on subjects' ability to accurately predict the task environment's response to their actions and subjects' ability to produce useful heuristics. This pattern of results runs counter to the idea that decision makers' performance in dynamic decision tasks depends critically on the predictive accuracy their internal models of the task environment. Variants of both tasks have been used to manipulate this pattern of results and explore more deeply the nature of the internal models that subjects form of the task environment. These variants are discussed in the context of other relevant findings in the dynamic decision making literature.

Key words

dynamic decision making 

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Faison P. Gibson
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate School of Industrial AdministrationCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburgh

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