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Title: Investigations into aeronautical decision making using the Perceptual Cycle Model
Author: Plant, Katherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 8764
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2015
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Aeronautical critical decision making (ACDM) can be the main factor determining whether an incident turns into an accident. With hindsight it is easy to establish where poor decisions were made. In order to gain a better understanding of ACDM it is necessary to investigate local rationality: to establish why the actions and assessments undertaken by an operator made sense to them at the time. The Perceptual Cycle Model (PCM) was used as the theoretical framework to investigate ACDM. The PCM describes the reciprocal, cyclical, relationship that exists between an operator and their work environment; depicting the interaction between internally held mental schemata and externally available environmental information as equal contributors to decisions and actions. It is argued that the acknowledgement of this interaction sets the PCM apart from other models of decision making. A literature review established that the PCM is a suitable framework to model ACDM. Two case studies, one an accident analysis and one a critical incident interview, demonstrated that the PCM was sensitive in establishing that the interaction of both schemata and world information influenced decision making processes. Subsequent research developed the PCM as an explanatory framework in three key ways. First, the construct validity of the model was explored. A counter-cycle (not depicted in the original model) was found and this was attributed to automatic, skill-based, behaviour characteristic of experts. Second, the PCM was extended by the development of a bespoke taxonomy to provide a more detailed description of ACDM. This demonstrated the importance of different PCM concepts in different phases of critical decision making. This work also led to the development of an interview schedule to elicit perceptual cycle data. Third, the PCM was applied to the study of teams. This novel application of the model demonstrated how teams function in a distributed perceptual cycle, whereby the actions of one team member become world information for the other. The overall findings are discussed in light of their potential theoretical, methodological and practical applications.
Supervisor: Stanton, Neville Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available