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Understanding Strategic Adaptation in Dual-Task Situations as Cognitively Bounded Rational Behavior

Janssen, CP; (2012) Understanding Strategic Adaptation in Dual-Task Situations as Cognitively Bounded Rational Behavior. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

In this thesis I explored when people interleave attention in dual-task settings. The hypothesis is that people try to perform in a cognitively bounded rational way. Performance is limited by constraints that come from the task environment and cognition. If, given these constraints, multiple strategies for interleaving tasks are available, then people will interleave tasks in a way that aligns with their local priority objective (Chapter 3), or which maximizes the value of an objective payoff function that evaluates performance (Chapter 4). This hypothesis was tested using a combination of experimental studies and computational cognitive models. Across a series of studies, the interplay between different constraints was investigated. In Chapters 5 and 6, I developed mathematical models to study what task combinations in general allowed for “ideal payoff manipulations” to study task interleaving. The work contributed to the existing literature in four ways: (1) it provided an overarching theory of skilled human dual-task performance and tested this in relatively applied settings, (2) the theory was formalized in computational cognitive models that can predict performance of unobserved strategies and that can bracket the (optimal) performance space, (3) linear and logarithmic tasks were identified as an ideal combination for achieving ideal payoff manipulations, and (4) results demonstrated that in multitasking situations attention is not necessarily interleaved solely at chunk boundaries and other “natural breakpoints”, but that this depends on a person’s priorities. The work has implications for driver distraction research, in that it helps in systematically understanding the performance trade-offs that people face when multitasking. Moreover, the modeling framework could be used for model-based evaluation of new mobile interfaces. Finally, the demonstration that priorities can strongly influence multitasking performance highlights the importance of public safety campaigns that emphasize awareness of driver safety. Limitations and further implications are discussed.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Understanding Strategic Adaptation in Dual-Task Situations as Cognitively Bounded Rational Behavior
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
Keywords:multitasking, driver distraction, performance trade-offs, cognitive modeling, cognitive modelling, cognitively bounded rational analysis, dual-tasking, adaptive behavior, adaptive behaviour, priorities, driving, performance operating characteristic, natural breakpoints, payoff function
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Psychology and Language Sciences (Division of) > UCL Interaction Centre
UCL > School of BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Computer Science

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