Accession Number : ADA953593

Title :   An Examination of Human Strategies for Acquiring Information.

Descriptive Note : Doctoral thesis,

Corporate Author : ILLINOIS UNIV AT URBANA TRAINING RESEARCH LAB

Personal Author(s) : Davis, D. J.

Report Date : OCT 1965

Pagination or Media Count : 47

Abstract : An experimental situation was developed in which the subject had the task of determining which of a set of possible events had occurred on each trial. After a fixed number of trials, the subject was asked to describe what he considered to be the best single way of asking his questions. This strategy was the primary datum of the experiment. A measure of 'goodness' was determined which was the average number of questions which would be required per trial if the strategy were used over a long series of trials. The experimental situation was viewed as a communication system in which the set of cards and the random process which generated outcomes (correct cards) determined an information source. The experimenter behaved as a channel which had the capacity of one bit per question and the subject's strategy encoded each outcome into a sequence of 'yes' and 'no' answers. As a result, it was possible to determine the lower bound on the average number of questions required for a given source and the efficiencies of strategies could be compared. On the basis of the results of the experiments, it was concluded that three main factors influenced the use of strategies. They were: (1) the extent to which the questions reflected the dominant characteristics of the stimuli; (2) the average amount of information which was obtained with questions; (3) the risk of having to use a large number of questions.

Descriptors :   *PERFORMANCE(HUMAN), *INFORMATION PROCESSING, *INFORMATION TRANSFER, STRATEGY, EFFICIENCY, DATA ACQUISITION, ACQUISITION, RISK.

Subject Categories : Aerodynamics
      Information Science
      Psychology
      Personnel Management and Labor Relations

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE