Effects of systemic complexity factors on task difficulty in a stock management game



In an experimental research involving stock management, we test the effects of three complexity factors on game performance measure and perceived difficulty ratings, first individually at different factor levels, and then in interaction with each other. Experiments show that, with respect to the base game, only the delay factor causes worsening in player performance, with increased delay duration and delay order. Nonlinearity and feedback do not deteriorate game performance by themselves, but they become mildly significant when they exist together with delay. Players’ subjective difficulty ratings also indicate strong delay effect, and no other significant factor. Game scores and subjective difficulty ratings are positively correlated (0.58). Our results show that each complexity factor has a different type and level of influence on the overall task difficulty, which has implications for designing better simulators for education and training. Copyright © 2015 System Dynamics Society