During a simulated bird-strike event, the electronic checklist instructed the pilots to shut down the wrong engine, to which five out of eight crews complied. This, despite information in the cockpit that was contrary to what the checklist was showing! Even more amazing, in a similar study involving a false engine fire, 67% of those who shutdown an incorrect engine “remembered” seeing confirmatory data on their instruments where none existed.
So are procedures to be abandoned? A subsequent study showed that part of the bias the electronic procedures created was due to how they were presented. The electronic checklist was given excessive saliency in its presentation – bigger, more centrally located, so the users tended to defer to it. The automation had “authority.” When given less saliency, the bias created by the checklist was reduced. So the issue is not procedures per se, but how the procedural information is presented.
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This year's Fall meeting for the Center for Operator Performance will be October 7-10 in Houston, TX. For more information, please contact Lisa Via. Guests are always welcome!
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David Strobhar's book, "Human Factors in Process Plant Operation," is now available in both hardcover and Kindle e-book.
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