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Cognitive Lockup

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Category: Human Behaviour Human Behaviour
Content source: SKYbrary About SKYbrary
Content control: SKYbrary About SKYbrary



The tendency of operators to deal with disturbances sequentially [Moray and Rotenberg (1989)]

As a result of cognitive lockup, pilots are inclined to focus on the current task and are reluctant to switch to another task, even if that task has a higher priority.

Task Switching Costs

When people switch between tasks, the reconfiguration to another task takes time (switching costs) and thus the most efficient way of working is to complete one task before moving on to the next. Cognitive lockup is reduced when it is obvious that the benefits of a switch exceed the cost of a switch. The decision to switch or not to switch may be influenced by a misperception of the expected benefits. If an individual feels that they are under time pressure and the ongoing task is almost complete then they are more likely to stick to the ongoing task.

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