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An empirical investigation of the effects of personality type and variation in information load on the information search strategies employed by decision makers
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The objectives of the study were to: (1) investigate the ways in which decision makers adapt their information search strategies in response to increases in the supply of information; and (2) assess whether the personality type of the decision maker affects the type of information search strategies employed to process the information. Explicit information search techniques were used in a laboratory experiment to examine the information-acquisition behavior of decision makers at various levels of task complexity. This technique traces the underlying cognitive process leading up to the final decision by monitoring what information was selected, the order that the information was selected, and the duration that each item of information was examined. The present study found that the type of information search strategies employed by decision makers was dependent on: (1) the amount of information available to the decision maker (task complexity); (2) the personality type of the decision maker; and (3) the interaction between the task complexity factors and the personality type of the decision maker. When the processing demands of the decision task were increased by adding to the number of alternatives to be evaluated, or by adding to the number of dimensions used to define each alternative, decision m a k e r s responded by eliminating some alternatives from further consideration on the basis of a very limited search of the information, and by spending more time processing each item of information. Furthermore, the type of information search strategies employed by decision makers, and the time spent processing the information was conditional on the subjects' personality preferences measured in accordance with Jungian constructs. The type of information search strategies that decision makers employed was dependent on: (1) the individuals' preferred (and most developed) mental function that provides overall direction and a consistent focus to their personality; and (2) the individuals' preferred way of perceiving the problem or situation with which they were faced. The study also compared the decision-making behavior of students from the laboratory experiment with the decision-making behavior of "real-world" managers, and reported that students were reasonable surrogates for managers.
1990 Dissertation K29
Human information processing
Myers-Briggs Type Indicator
Kelliher, Charles Francis (1990). An empirical investigation of the effects of personality type and variation in information load on the information search strategies employed by decision makers. Texas A&M University. Texas A&M University. Libraries. Available electronically from
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