Klein, J.H. and Cooper, D.F.
Assessing problem complexity
European Journal of Operational Research, 6, (3), . (doi:10.1016/0377-2217(81)90225-3).
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The difficulty of objectively measuring the decision-making load imposed by a complex decision problem on a human decision maker is identified. It is suggested that a technique for such measurement would be useful in Operational Research. The secondary task technique, a method much used by psychologists and ergonomists to assess the mental processing load presented to subjects by a variety of tasks, is discussed. It is observed that the type of complex problem often of interest in Operational Research is characterised by the involvement of model building in the process of solution. An experiment is presented to compare the mental load presented by a number of different chess problems using a mental arithmetic secondary task, and it is shown that the method appears to be valid for the study of complex problems.
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