Macquarie University
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An exploratory study investigating the role of cross-task cue utilisation in explaining performance on a novel task

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posted on 2022-11-02, 01:59 authored by Courtney E. Greenwood

Introduction. Decision-making in high-risk, time-constrained environments is reliant on information processing skills that prioritise relevant over less relevant cues. The utilisation of cues is associated with improvements in performance and is normally domain-specific. However, recent research suggests that the utilisation of cues in one domain is associated with performance in other, unrelated domains. This suggests that there may be an inherent capability differentiating the rate of cue acquisition. The aim of the present study was to explore the relationship between driving-related cue utilisation and performance on a novel problem-solving task, exploring several potential explanatory variables. 

Methods. Experiment 1a comprised an exploratory study that was designed to test the relationship between cue utilisation, assessed using EXPERTise 2.0 (driving edition) as an online behavioural assessment of cue utilisation, and performance on a novel problem-solving task (Tower of Hanoi). Explanatory variables included: (1) conscientiousness; (2) deductive reasoning ability; and (3) preference for intuitive or analytical approaches to problem solving. Experiment 1b extended and replicated Experiment 1a to examine the potential role of implicit pattern recognition in explaining the relationship between driving-related cue utilisation and performance on a revised Tower Task. Experiments 1a and 1b were completed online by a total of 176 and 187 undergraduate students, respectively. 

Results. The results indicated that higher cue utilisation was associated with fewer errors (Experiment 1a), and superior performance (Experiment 1b) in the respective novel problem-solving tasks, but this effect was not related to any of the explanatory variables. 

Conclusion. The outcomes are consistent with previous research that associates cue utilisation in one domain with performance in another, unrelated domain. However, this effect was not explained by conscientiousness, deductive reasoning, or a preference in approach to problem solving. Implications and future directions are discussed, including consolidating these findings for experts in high-pressure and time-constrained environments. 


Table of Contents

Introduction -- Experiment 1a -- Experiment 1b -- General discussion -- References -- Appendices


Empirical thesis submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Research

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Faculty of Medicine, Health and Human Sciences, Department of Psychology, 2021

Department, Centre or School

Department of Psychology

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Mark Wiggins

Additional Supervisor 1

Ann Carrigan

Additional Supervisor 2

Mel Taylor


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




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