Cognitive Support for Real-Time Dynamic Decision Making

F. Javier Lerch, Donald E. Harter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

88 Scopus citations


This research examines how decision makers manage their attentional resources when making a series of interdependent decisions in a real-time environment. Decision strategies for real-time dynamic tasks consist of two main overlapping cognitive activities: monitoring and control. Monitoring refers to decision makers' tracking of key system variables as they work toward arriving at a decision. Control refers to the decision maker's generation, evaluation, and selection of alternative actions. In real-time tasks, these two activities compete for the same attentional resources. The questions that motivate the two studies presented here are: (1) can decision making be improved by increasing individuals' attentional resources, thereby enhancing their ability to monitor the system, and (2) can decision making be improved by providing individuals with feedback and/or feedforward control support? Our findings show that some kinds of cognitive support degrade performance, rather than enhance it. These results indicate that providing support for real-time dynamic decision making may be very difficult, and that designing effective decision aids requires a detailed understanding of the underlying cognitive processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-82
Number of pages20
JournalInformation Systems Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Decision Support
  • Dynamic Decision Making
  • Individual Differences
  • Real-Time Environments

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Information Systems and Management
  • Library and Information Sciences


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