Operator"s Guide to Person Factors in Aviation
Personal Qualities

Briefing Note


1 Introduction

Decision making is the cognitive procedure of selecting a course of action from among multiple alternatives. The decision-making process produces an option of activity or an opinion that determines the decision maker"s behavior and therefore has a profound affect on task performance.

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Decision making in an aeronautical setting involves any pertinent decision a pilot should make during the conduct of a trip. It consists of both preflight go/no-go decisions and those made in the time of the trip. In aeronautics, decision making is of certain prominence because of the safety aftermath of poor decisions.

The UNITED STATE Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) defines aeronautical decision making (ADM) as follows:

ADM is a methodical technique to the mental procedure provided by aircraft pilots to consistently determine the ideal course of activity in response to a provided set of circumstances. (FAA Advisory Circular 60-22)

This briefing note discusses:

The concept of human decision makingThe restrictions of huguy decision making

A companion briefing note is Decision-Making Training.

2 Human being Decision Making

Person decision making is a complex process that is strongly dependent on the atmosphere in which the decision should be made. We all make decisions eincredibly day, such as the alternative of what to have for breakquick or which road to take once driving to occupational. The level to which safety and security considerations enter our decision making relies on the instance. Choosing grain or bread for breakfast requires virtually no consideration of security. Selecting a route to drive may involve some aspects of safety and security but is probably mainly based upon travel time and, maybe, scenery.

Aviation is a complicated, safety-critical venture. Many decisions made while flying can influence the lives of thousands of world and have extrasimple economic aftermath. Thus, also though some trip decisions are not strongly related to safety, it is finest to watch ADM as a safety-critical attribute.

2.1 Decision making in the aeronautical environment

Decision making in aeronautics builds upon the structure of typical decision making. Zsambok and also Klein (1997) allude out, however, that ADM is lugged out in dynamic and also facility atmospheres regularly identified by:

Ill-structured problemsAn abundance of informationUncertaintyShifting, ill-identified or contending goalsMultiple event-feedago loopsTime constraintsHigh stakes through high levels of riskCollaboration and job sharing among multiple playersOrganizational norms and also objectives that have to be well balanced versus the decision maker"s personal choices

Decisions in such a facility environment have to involve the following considerations:

A decision is not distinctive however, rather, is a collection of multiple and also interdependent decisions that are made in real time and also in a consistently altering autonomous atmosphere. (Edwards, 1962).A huguy being is not able to perceive, evaluate, understand also and also act on all facets of the setting. The decision maker must simplify reality and also make a decision within it. Reaboy (1990) calls this device "bounded rationality."The principle of sufficiency (Amalberti, 2002) explains a decision as a continuous procedure in which a collection of decisions is made while seeking satismanufacturing facility results to a offered case. This principle does not intend the decision involves the leastern cognitive effort however, fairly, that the humale being has achieved a satisfying response to the instance.
Consequently, a successful decision is not necessarily the optimum or many rational decision. It is the decision the huguy being understands and also knows just how to apply efficiently in the context of the case.

These considerations suggest that ADM cannot be equated to a simplistic, sequential decision-making procedure involving:

Cue detectionCue interpretation and/or integrationHypothesis generation and/or selectionAction selection

While this design of decision making is attractively basic and also might be enough to define the day-to-day process, it is not sufficient to define ADM, which is finest thought about in the framework of a holistic design of indevelopment processing.

ADM is strongly dependent on situational awareness and the alternatives available to a pilot (Hoc and Amalberti, 1995). A pilot’s level of situational awareness determines the options that will certainly be taken into consideration and helps guide the option of a solution. In enhancement, the outcomes of selected actions deserve to boost perception and also expertise of the situation, which deserve to serve as feedearlier to change and boost subsequent decisions. In fact, it is clear that situational awareness, decision making and also action are thoapproximately intertwined (check out Figure 1).


Figure 1 Decision Making and Indevelopment Processing

2.2 Situational awareness and decision making

Situational awareness is the perception of the aspects in the environment within a volume of time and also room, the understanding of their definition and also the estimate of their standing into the close to future (Endsley, 1995). This definition leads to the identification of 3 levels of comprehension (see Figure 2).

Level 1: perception of instrumental ecological cuesLevel 2: understanding the relevance and prestige of those eco-friendly cues to a person"s goalsLevel 3: realistic predictions of potential future events in the system

An evaluation of a pilot"s cognitive task says that some work do not need a high level of continuous understanding. Pilots deserve to temporarily accept low or no comprehension for some work that are plainly not safety-important. Situational awareness, then, have to involve a pilot"s capacity to control the correct levels of understanding through regard to obtainable mental sources and mission and job demands. Time press and also the pilot"s goals are considerable factors that add to understanding level.


Figure 2 Decision Making and Situational Awareness

The ADM process is an energetic process guided, in part, by the pilot"s psychological depiction. Consequently, ADM is straight impacted by the sources the pilot allocates to the Situational Awareness procedure presented in Figure 2. Poor comprehension might lead to an inproper decision even if the information essential to assistance the proper option is accessible in the atmosphere.

2.3 Model of naturalistic decision making

The principle of naturalistic decision making was proposed by Klein, Orasanu, Caldertimber and Zsambok (1993) to rearea the more typical normative and also prescriptive philosophies of decision making, which are incredibly difficult to apply in complicated settings. The naturalistic decision entails different mechanisms from those associated in the normative and prescriptive models.

ADM should usage a continuum of processes in order to adapt successfully to eco-friendly constraints and also the differing levels of ability among decision machines. This continuum arrays from an analytically based decision procedure to one grounded mostly on intuition. Elgin and Thomas (2004) define 3 tiers in the continuum depending on the attributes of the instance (e.g., taskfill, time stress) as follows:

Tier 1 decision making occurs as soon as decision makers have actually sufficient time to perceive the ecological cues as signals and react to those signals. Tier 1 processes are durable when time stress is high or once cognitive sources are strained. Thus, Tier 1 processes (e.g., skill-based decisions, decisions based upon straightforward pattern matching, decisions based on intuitive processes) are the only methods that pilots can process indevelopment once under high time stress or high taskpack. Tier 1 procedures, yet, are limited in that they have the right to only interact through indevelopment that deserve to be processed as signals. Tier 1 procedures are not amallow to indevelopment other than signals (e.g., signs and also symbols), which are left unattended as soon as there is inenough time or cognitive resources for higher-level analytical processes to operate (i.e., Tier 2 and Tier 3 decision processes).Tier 2 decision procedures need more time and also cognitive sources than those in Tier 1. When time and resources permit, decision equipments deserve to integrate and assign meaning to the signs. Tier 2 procedures are just amallow to indevelopment that deserve to be processed as indications. Other develops of information (e.g., symbols) are left unattended also under conditions of moderate time tension. When Tier 2 decision procedures deserve to be engaged, the pilot can count upon rule-based “if-then” methods to discriminate between cue patterns (i.e., pattern discrimination). In enhancement, Tier 2 decision procedures are quasi-rational (i.e., some cues can be processed analytically and also others intuitively).Tier 3 decision-making procedures necessitate even more time and mental sources than those in Tier 2 or Tier 1. Given ample time and also sources, the decision maker deserve to integrate, assign interpretation and also task the future actions of the information (i.e., symbols). Since Tier 3 is defined by low time anxiety, but, other indevelopment (e.g., signals and also signs) deserve to still be incorporated right into the decision-making process. Tier 3 processes are engaged when Tier 1 and Tier 2 processes carry out not carry out a satisfactory solution or decision and time is available; the decision-making procedure will certainly transition towards a much more deliberate analytical procedure (Wickens et al.,1998). The pilot can use knowledge-based thinking and also run psychological simulations, based upon symbols, to confirm or amfinish mental models of his or her situational awareness. A more strategic method can be included right into the decision-making procedure wright here the goal of safe flight is emerged.

Figure 3 illustrates the relationship among the tiers established by Elgin and Thomas (2004).


Figure 3 Naturalistic Model of Decision Making (Elgin and Thomas, 2004)

2.4 Collective decision making

Studies of decision making traditionally have actually focused on decisions by people. Commercial aviation, yet, is a group or team setting — not just in the cockpit yet additionally among the cabin crew and also on the ground (e.g., maintenance, operations).

In aviation, the team represents a dispersed cognitive device in which each member might impact the collective decision-making process. The leader takes a particular role in the procedure by assuming the responsibility for the cumulative decision on behalf of the team, regardless of the case or event.

The actions for making a effective cumulative decision are:

Access the exact same information either directly or by sharing among team membersBuild collective situational awareness and check for a widespread understandingComplete and mutually agree on goalsSelect and accept the course of actionExecute the course of action using an apshowed task-sharing scheme after having planned it by defining the procedure, duty and also requirements of each memberFeed back outcomes for surveillance the decision’s effectExpress any doubts and settle them

However before, as with individual decision making, the process of cumulative decision making deserve to change as a role of the functions of the environment in which the decision is being made (Urban, Weaver, Bowers and also Rhodenizer, 1996). Factors affecting the cumulative decision-making procedure include:

Time stressWorkloadFormat of leadershipPersonality and mood of team membersAbility, experience and stature or reputation of the team membersConfidence, doubt and the social dynamic among team members

Three various team decision-making layouts or processes can be defined based upon the relative impacts of the factors detailed above:

Synergic process of decision making

The synergic procedure deserve to be used only as soon as time anxiety is low. The team leader directs the synergic decision process. Most of the moment, the team-functioning rules are currently recognized by members. However before, if they are not well-known, the leader must explain them (e.g., communicate, share information, express doubts).

In synergic decision making, the leader implements the rules and has actually overall obligation for the procedure. The leader can and also need to offer credence to each team member’s opinion prior to getting to a decision. New paths to comprehension or resolution are retained open. The leader seeks consensus and checks that every team member agrees via the cumulative decisions (e.g., purposes, Situational Awareness, course of action).

This decision-making procedure deserve to be offered by continuous groups in which functioning rules are well formalized (e.g., aircrew, cabin crew, technician team, pushago team). It can likewise be supplied by occasional or ad hoc teams in which functioning rules and cumulative behavior are not well establimelted. In these instances, the role of the leader becomes also even more necessary.

Leader relies on the team members

Leaders rely on team members once time constraints or workfill perform not permit implementing the synergic procedure. The leader’s style of management or the characters of the team members can likewise favor this form of cumulative decision-making habits.

A leader might count on team members for hypothesis confirmation, to define brand-new alternatives or to deal with doubts. The leader has actually the duty to make maximum usage of team resources. Team members are open up to researches from the leader and have actually the responsibility to help the leader whenever before feasible. For this, the assertiveness of team members requirements to be high. The collective decision process is proactively controlled by everyone — leader and team members. Initiatives for beginning cumulative activity are common among all the members of the team.

This procedure have to be supplied only by well-establiburned teams with high levels of collective decision-making abilities and where strong rules and also habits already exist (e.g., education, training, suffer, functioning procedures). Otherwise, the hazard of negative collective decision making is high.

Autonomous decision making

Autonomous decision making by individual team members may be the only means to cope through situations containing interfering external determinants such as excessive time anxiety and/or high workload. The should respond easily and also to regulate huge quantities of information precludes interaction among team members. Autonomous decision making have the right to likewise happen also when tbelow is ample obtainable time or workpack is low and also is an outcome of the management style, personality or confidence level of the team members.

Under autonomous decision making, the leader works nearly alone, and also the team members attempt to help when conditions permit. The leader is additionally open up to advice from the team members. Regardless of the push of the situation, the leader have to be open up to safety and security inputs. Also, autonomous decision making puts a premium on the competence and assertiveness of the team members. The principal risk in this procedure is that the leader might become isolated and also lonely.

The leader communicates decisions (e.g., purposes, situational awareness, course of action) as shortly as the situation allows. This is an essential step to save the team members in the decision loop and also keep their activation level to perform the job properly. When time permits, the leader explains and discusses his or her decisions in order to bolster team confidence and also support for his or her management.

3 Limitations of Person Decision Making

Some components and/or biases can distort the method situations or objectives are perceived by individuals and also the team as a whole. The more a situation becomes strained, the even more world tend to location confidence in subjective and also personal determinants, which have the right to limit the high quality of decisions, regardless of the specific decision-making procedure offered. Knowledge of these limiting determinants is vital in order to avoid their usage or to reduce their results on safety. Three kinds of determinants can be described:

Risk perception and also risk managementSituational factorsBiases

3.1 Risk and decision making

All decision alternatives entail some level of risk. The option between alternatives is a tradeoff based on the supposed outcomes for each different and the danger of faiattract to accomplish these outcomes once adopting the schosen alternative. The method risk is perceived and also managed can limit some choices.

Individuals tfinish to favor remedies they are confident of achieving, also if the outcome will not be as great as could have actually been completed through another, less-acquainted solution. The likely solution in such cases is the finest of the easily accessible alternatives that the individual or the team is actually able to implement, even if it is not the optimum solution.

3.2 Situational factors

Situational components aclimb from the interactivity of the characteristics of the case and also those of the specific individual or team. Four forms of situational determinants have been identified:

Factors connected to the task

Factors innate in a task have the right to influence decision making. These include: level of job complexity, time easily accessible to finish the task (time pressure), amount and also circulation of information, ease of accessibility and availcapacity of the information, conduciveness of the human-machine interface design, level of uncertainty and clarity of the goals.

Cognitive factors

Tbelow are limits on huguy cognitive abilities and information processing (i.e., perception, knowledge, action). Also, determinants such as individual expertise level, specialization, qualifications, fatigue and stress and anxiety can influence decision making.

Motivational and personality factors

The degree of an individual’s catalyst and personality traits, mindsets, response style and also the effects of emotion or past suffer and mood have the right to profoundly influence decision making.

Psycho-social factors

Many type of psycho-social determinants can influence the decision procedure for both individuals and also teams. Decision making in a expert environment is topic to judgment and also assessment by a 3rd party. Top Priorities about image or failure and the desire to command also the respect of others are psycho-social determinants that have the right to have actually straight impacts upon the method decisions are made.

Other psycho-social factors incorporate team participation mechanisms, management, followership, procedures of affect, stereotypes, reputation, and also prestige.

3.3 Biases that affect decisions

Khaneguy, Slovic and Tverskies (1982) explain many biases that deserve to distort the decision-making process. Biases are a details tendency or inclicountry that avoids unprejudiced consideration of a question. Biases have actually been extensively stupassed away in the field of decision making. The many regular biases influencing decision making are:

Anchoring bias: the tendency to rely as well heavily, or "anchor," on one trait or piece of informationBelief bias: the tendency to base assessments on personal beliefsConfirmation bias: the tendency to search for or interpret information in a method that confirms one"s preconceptionsLoss-avariation bias: the solid tendency for human being to choose avoiding losses rather than getting gainsRosy-retrospection bias: the tendency to rate past events more positively than they were actually rated as soon as the occasion occurredStatus-quo bias: the tendency to choose points to remain fairly the sameGambler"s-fallacy bias: the tendency to assume that individual random occasions are affected by previous random eventsValence effect of prediction bias: the tendency to overestimate the likelihood of good things happening and also to underestimate the chance of poor things happeningCorrelation bias: the tendency to underestimate rare occasions and also overestimate regular eventsRecency-impact bias: the tendency to weigh recent events even more heavily than earlier eventsPrimacy-effect bias: the tendency to weigh initial occasions more greatly than subsequent eventsFundamental attribution error bias: the tendency for world to overemphasize personality-based explacountries for habits observed in others (however not themselves) while underemphasizing the role and also power of situational impacts on the same behaviorFalse agreement effect bias: the tendency for civilization to overestimate the degree to which others agree via themProjection bias: the tendency to unconsciously assume that others share the same or comparable thoughts, beliefs, values or positionsOverconfidence effect bias: the huguy tendency to be more confident in one"s behaviors, features and also physical features than one need to beConformity bias: a propensity to preferentially take on the cultural traits that are the majority of regular in the team. Conformity can likewise involve accepting the majority opinion and also silencing or ignoring those that argue via the agreement.

3.4 Types of error in decision making

Orasanu and also Martin (1998) identified 2 standard types of decision-making errors in aviation.

The initially relates to instance assessment, which requires defining the difficulty and also assessing the levels of danger connected with it and the amount of time obtainable for resolving it. Once the problem is characterized, a course of action have to be liked. The course of activity is selected from the choices easily accessible. Situation-assessment errors have the right to be of a number of types: instance cues may be mistaken, misdiagnosed or ignored, resulting in a wrong picture; risk (threat or danger) levels might be misassessed (Orasanu, Dismukes and Fischer, 1993); or the amount of accessible time might be misjudged (Orasanu and also Strauch, 1994).

The second kind of decision-making error identified by Orasanu and also Martin entails errors in picking a course of activity. These additionally might be of numerous types. When tbelow are particular rules to overview the decision (e.g., procedures), the correct response may not be retrieved from memory and also applied, either because it was not well-known or bereason some contextual factor mitigated against it. If tbelow are options from which the decision should be made, alternatives also might not be retrieved from memory, or only one might be retrieved when, in truth, multiple choices exist. Constraints or factors that identify the adequacy of assorted choices may not be retrieved or supplied in evaluating the alternatives. Finally, the after-effects of miscellaneous choices may not be considered. The decision maker might fail to mentally simulate the feasible outcomes of each taken into consideration choice. Creative decisions might be the a lot of difficult bereason they involve the leastern support from the setting. The lack of accessible choices suggests candiday options must be developed to fit the purposes and existing problems.

Orasanu and also Martin examined situations in the UNITED STATE National Transportation Safety Board"s set of 37 "crew-caused" accidents that associated "tactical-decision errors" (NTSB, 1994). A common pattern was the crew"s decision to proceed via their original arrangement once conditions suggested that various other courses of action might be even more prudent. In various other words, they made a decision to "go" in a "no-go" situation, generally in the face of ambiguous or dynamically altering conditions (e.g., continuing through a landing as soon as it might have been even more appropriate to go around). Four components are hypothesized as feasible contributors to these decision errors:

The cases were not well-known as ones that must create a change of course of action, due to the ambiguity of the cuesRisk was underestimated, probably because a previous equivalent instance was efficiently handledGoals conflicted (e.g., security vs. efficiency, mission completion or social factors)Consequences were not anticipated or evaluated, probably because of some of the environmental determinants or biases debated earlier

4 Key Points

The following are crucial points through respect to decision making:

ADM takes location in a complicated environment and also requires situational awareness, relevant skills and also experienceDecision making must be taken into consideration in wide human determinants and operational contextsThe naturalistic decision-making process is significantly affected by time press and workloadADM in commercial aviation is a team process. Thus, team dynamics have the right to play a strong positive or negative roleTbelow are limitations in the human decision-making procedure, and exceeding these borders deserve to cause decision error.

5 Associated OGFHA Materials

Briefing Notes:


Situational Examples: Many of the situational examples are, in one means or an additional, relevant to Decision Making. As such, it is recommfinished that they be offered as appropriate

6 Additional Reading Material

Amalberti, R. (2002). Revisiting Safety and also Human Factors Paradigms to Meet the Safety Challenges of Ultra-Complex and also Safe Equipment. In B. Willpert and also B. Falhbruch (Eds.), System Safety: Challenges and Pitdrops of Interventions (pp. 265-276). Amsterdam, Pays-Bas: Elsevier.

Berthoz, A. (2003). La Décision, Ed. Odile Jacob, Paris.

Damasio, A. (2003). Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow, and also the Feeling Brain. Harcourt Trade Publishers, New York.

Dorner, D. (1997). The Logic of Failure: Recognizing and also Avoiding Error in Complex Situations. Basic publications, New York.

Edwards, W. (1962). Dynamic Decision Theory and Probabilistics Information Processing. Human Factors, 4, 59-73.

Elgin, P.D.; Thomas, R.P. (2004). An Combined Decision-Making Model for Categorizing Weather Products and also Decision Aids. NASA/TM-2004-212990.

Endsley, M.R. (1995). Towards a Theory of Situation Awareness. Person Factors, 37(1), 32-64.

FAA Advisory Circular (AC) AC 60-22 Aeronautical Decision Making

Gilovich, T.; Griffin, D.W.; Kahneman, D. (2002). Heuristics and also Biases: The Psychology of Intuitive Judgment. Cambridge College Press, New York.

Hoc, J.M.; Amalberti, R. (1995). Diagnosis: Some Theoretical Questions Raised by Applied Research. Current Psychology of Cognition, 14, 73-101.

Kahneguy, D.; Slovic, P.; Tverskies, A. (1982). Judgment Under Uncertainty: Heuristics and also Biases. Cambridge University Press, New York.

Klein, G.; Orasanu, J.; Calderlumber, R.; Zsambok, C.E. (1993). Decision Making in Action: Models and also Methods. Nortimber, New Jersey, USA: Ablex.

Montgomery, H.; Lipshitz, R.; Brehmer, B. (2005). How Professionals Make Decisions. Mahwah, New Jersey, USA: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

UNITED STATE National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Safety Study: A Recheck out of Flightcrew-Involved, Major Accidents of U.S. Air Carriers, 1978 with 1990. Report no. NTSB/SS-94/01. Washington, D.C., USA: NTSB, 1994.

Orasanu, J.; Dismukes, K.; Fischer, U. (1993). Decision Errors in the Cockpit. In Proceedings of the Person Factors and also Ergonomics Society 37th Annual Meeting, 1, 363-367. Santa Monica, California, USA: Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.

Orasanu, J.; Martin, L. (1998). Errors in Aviation Decision Making: A Factor in Accidents and Incidents. HESSD 98: second Workshop on Human Error, Safety, and also System Advancement, 100-106, April 1-2, 1998, Seattle, Washington, USA.

Orasanu, J.; Strauch, B. (1994). Tempdental Factors in Aviation Decision Making. In Proceedings of the Person Factors and Ergonomics Society Meeting, (pp. 935-939).

Reakid, J. (1990). Person Error. Cambridge University Press, New York.

Urban, J.M.; Weaver, J.L.; Bowers, C.A.; Rhodenizer, L. (1996). Effects of Workload and also Structure on Team Processes and Performance: Implications for Complex Team Decision Making. Human being Factors. 1996. 38 (2), 300-310.

Wickens, C.D.; Gordon, S.E.; Liu, Y. (1998). An Overview to Human being Factors Engineering. New York: Longman.

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Zsambok, C.E.; Klein, G. (1997). Naturalistic Decision Making. Mahwah, New Jersey, USA: Erlbaum.