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The Effects of Interruptions, Task Complexity, and Information Presentation on Computer-Supported Decision-Making Performance

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ABSTRACT

Interruptions are a frequent occurrence in the work life of most decision makers. This paper investigated the influence of interruptions on different types of decision-making tasks and the ability of information presentation formats, an aspect of information systems design, to alleviate them. Results from the experimental study indicate that interruptions facilitate performance on simple tasks, while inhibiting performance on more complex tasks. Interruptions also influenced the relationship between information presentation format and the type of task performed: spatial presentation formats were able to mitigate the effects of interruptions while symbolic formats were not. The paper presents a broad conceptualization of interruptions and interprets the ramifications of the experimental findings within this conceptualization to develop a program for future research.

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