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The Effect of Task Demands and Graphical Format on Information Processing Strategies

  • Sirkka L. Jarvenpaa

    (College and Graduate School of Business, University of Texas, Austin, Texas 78712-1175)

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    The designers of decision support systems lack theoretically based principles for designing graphical interfaces. The purpose of the reported research is to take a step toward developing such principles for graphical information presentation formats. Specifically, this paper presents an investigation of the effects of graphical formats and task demands upon decision processes and decision outcomes. In a laboratory setting, research participants made choices under differing task and graphical format conditions, and their information acquisition and evaluation behaviors were recorded. The results suggest that information presentation format influences the decision time and the selection of acquisition and evaluation strategies by influencing the cognitive costs and benefits of the task environment. Other factors influencing the decision time and the choice of strategies include the characteristics of the task and the interactions between the presentation format and the other task demands. The interactions between the task demands and the graphical format appear to be complex and may impact different stages of decision process differently (e.g., acquisition versus evaluation). The findings of the current study extend the results of previous studies on information format into the domain of graphical displays. The findings also suggest that the cognitive cost/benefit framework can provide a robust theoretical foundation for design decisions regarding graphical presentation formats in decision support systems.

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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1287/mnsc.35.3.285
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    Article provided by INFORMS in its journal Management Science.

    Volume (Year): 35 (1989)
    Issue (Month): 3 (March)
    Pages: 285-303

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    Handle: RePEc:inm:ormnsc:v:35:y:1989:i:3:p:285-303
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