Previous research has demonstrated performance inefficiencies among perfectionists, which may be mitigated via the adoption of ‘good enough’ heuristic-based information acquisition strategies; particularly in complex tasks. This study investigated whether training perfectionists to use reduced-processing strategies during decision-making could reduce their checking and maximising tendencies, improve their accuracy, and reduce time on task. Sixty participants completed eight decision scenarios; two at pre-training, four during training, and two at post-training. Scenarios were from firefighting and crime scene investigation (CSI) contexts, which required participants to access feature-related text boxes to acquire information on three possible options. Firefighting and CSI scenarios were used to gauge performance and mental demand at both pre- and post-training. Participants were assigned to one of the three training conditions: Control (i.e., no training), Elimination by Aspects, and Satisficing. All participants completed four firefighting tasks, receiving feedback on each. Participants then completed two perfectionism measures to assess their relative levels of Perfectionistic Concerns and Perfectionistic Strivings. Components of perfectionism significantly predicted changes in accuracy, latency, unique features accessed, and recursions made during decision-making. Participants who trained in reduced-processing strategies did not significantly improve task performance (compared to control), however did show a reduction in the number of unique features accessed. Further, perfectionism did significantly explain variability in change scores but to different extents depending on task context. While training translated to greater reductions in the number of unique features accessed, other proposed benefits of using reduced-processing strategies were not observed. The study contributes to knowledge of human-centred design and elucidates the factors that may influence the successful introduction and adoption of reduced-processing or other training strategies.
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Liu, R.Y.M., Morrison, B.W., Wiggins, M.W. et al. Using reduced-processing training to improve decision efficiency among perfectionists. Cogn Tech Work (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10111-021-00672-1