Tuesday, 27 September 2016

JUST PUBLISHED: paper by UoN PhD student examines if people are as good as they think at basic tasks

If you’re anything like most people, you’re probably extremely good at performing basic tasks while making very few errors. Although it’s very important to be able to make very few errors on a task - such as in an important test or exam - this is not always the requirement of the task. For example, when playing a timed arcade basketball game, going faster will lead to more overall chances, even if some baskets are missed. This means that the best performance in the task would require the most efficient one, which is making the most baskets in the quickest time possible. However, can people also perform extremely well at maximizing efficiency in basic tasks?

This was the exact question of interest for PhD studnet Nathan Evans and Dr. Scott Brown of the Newcastle Cognition Lab, who aimed to explore how efficiently people could complete basic perceptual tasks when they were explicitly given this goal. Interestingly, people naturally failed to perform with extreme efficiency, with their performance favouring accuracy over efficiency. However, when people were given more explicit feedback on how they could change their performance to be more efficient, their performance closely matched that of the most efficient performance possible.

For those who are interested, the full paper can be found at: