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Cue Use is Unaffected by Covertly Performing a Task
Cognitive Engineering & Decision Making
DescriptionHumans learn by watching others. One aspect of these observations are our Judgments of Difficulty (JODs) about a task. Research has revealed discrepancies in the judgments we make while performing and observing; these discrepancies are alternatively explained by the Simulation and Theory Models of metacognition. This study tested these models by capitalizing on a behavior that naturally occurs during observation: covert performance. We compared the cues to difficulty used by pure observers and covert performers as they watched an automated system (AS) perform a visual search task. Students used peripheral and central cues to difficulty similarly, regardless of whether they purely observed or covertly performed the task, lending support to the Theory Model of metacognition. The study offers an explanation for peoples’ inflated sense of ability while watching others perform and suggests that providing people with experience – not just observation– is a critical part of correcting these faulty judgments.