Using reduced-processing training to improve decision efficiency among perfectionists

Abstract

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.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2

Data availability

The data that support the findings of this study are available on request from the corresponding author.

References

  1. Alcolado GM, Radomsky AS (2011) Believe in yourself: manipulating beliefs about memory causes checking. Behav Res Ther 49(1):42–49. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2010.10.001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Appelt KC, Milch KF, Handgraaf MJ, Weber EU (2011) The decision-making individual differences inventory and guidelines for the study of individual differences in judgment and decision-making research. Judgm Decis Mak 6(3):252–262

    Google Scholar 

  3. Bieling PJ, Israeli AL, Smith J, Antony MM (2003) Making the grade: the behavioral consequences of perfectionism in the classroom. Personal Individ Differ 35:163–178. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(02)00173-3

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Bubić A (2015) The role of perfectionism and emotional regulation in explaining decision-making styles. Društvena istraživanja-Časopis za opća društvena pitanja 24(1):69–87. https://doi.org/10.5559/di.24.1.04

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. Corrie S, Palmer S (2014) Coaching individuals with perfectionistic tendencies When high standards help and hinder. Coach Psykol Danish J Coach Psychol 3(1):53–66. https://doi.org/10.5278/ojs.cp.v3i1.666

    Article  Google Scholar 

  6. Damian LE, Stoeber J, Negru-Subtirica O, Băban A (2016) On the development of perfectionism: the longitudinal role of academic achievement and academic efficacy. J Pers 85(4):565–577. https://doi.org/10.1111/jopy.12261

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Ellam-Dyson V, Palmer S (2010) Rational coaching with perfectionistic leaders to overcome avoidance of leadership responsibilities. Coach Psychol 6(2):5–11

    Google Scholar 

  8. Enns MW, Cox BJ (2002) The nature and assessment of perfectionism: a critical analysis. In: Flett GL, Hewitt PL (eds) Perfectionism: theory, research, and treatment. American psychological association, Washington, DC, pp 33–62. https://doi.org/10.1037/10458-002

    Google Scholar 

  9. Festinger L (1957) A theory of cognitive dissonance. Stanford University Press, Palo Alto

    Google Scholar 

  10. Flett GL, Hewitt PL (2002) Perfectionism and maladjustment: an overview of theoretical, definitional, and treatment issues. In: Flett GL, Hewitt PL (eds) Perfectionism: theory, research, and treatment. American Psychological Association, Washington, DC, pp 5–31. https://doi.org/10.1037/10458-001

    Google Scholar 

  11. Flett GL, Hewitt PL, Blankstein KR, Gray L (1998) Psychological distress and the frequency of perfectionistic thinking. J Pers Soc Psychol 75(5):1363–1381. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.75.5.1363

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Freer M, Wiggins MW (2004) In-flight decision making [Computer software]. MARCS Auditory Laboratories, Sydney

    Google Scholar 

  13. Frost RO, Marten P, Lahart C, Rosenblate R (1990) The dimensions of perfectionism. Cogn Ther Res 14(5):449–468. https://doi.org/10.1007/bf01172967

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Frost RO, Heimberg RG, Holt CS, Mattia JI, Neubauer AL (1993) A comparison of two measures of perfectionism. Personal Individ Differ 14(1):119–126. https://doi.org/10.1016/0191-8869(93)90181-2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Gigerenzer G, Goldstein DG (1996) Reasoning the fast and the frugal way: models of bounded rationality. Psychol Rev 103:650–669. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-295X.103.4.650

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Gotwals JK, Stoeber J, Dunn JG, Stoll O (2012) Are perfectionistic strivings in sport adaptive? A systematic review of confirmatory, contradictory, and mixed evidence. Can Psychol 53(4):263–279. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0030288

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Hart SG, Staveland LE (1988) Development of NASA-TLX (Task Load Index): results of empirical and theoretical research. Adv Psychol 52:139–183. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0166-4115(08)62386-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Hewitt PL, Flett GL (1991) Perfectionism in the self and social contexts: conceptualization, assessment, and association with psychopathology. J Pers Soc Psychol 60(3):456–470

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Hewitt PL, Flett GL, Turnbull-Donovan W, Mikail SF (1991) The multidimensional perfectionism scale: reliability, validity, and psychometric properties in psychiatric samples. Psychol Assess A J Consult Clin Psychol 3(3):464–468. https://doi.org/10.1037/1040-3590.3.3.464

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Hewitt PL, Flett GL, Mikail SF (2017) Perfectionism: a relational approach to conceptualization, assessment, and treatment. Guilford Press, New York. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-3514.60.3.456

    Google Scholar 

  21. Hill AP, Curran T (2016) Multidimensional perfectionism and burnout: a meta-analysis. Personal Soc Psychol Rev 20(3):269–288. https://doi.org/10.1177/1088868315596286

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Hill RW, Huelsman TJ, Araujo G (2010) Perfectionistic concerns suppress associations between perfectionistic strivings and positive life outcomes. Personal Individ Differ 48(5):584–589. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2009.12.011

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Hinojosa AS, Gardner WL, Walker HJ, Cogliser C, Gullifor D (2017) A review of cognitive dissonance theory in management research. J Manag 43(1):170–199. https://doi.org/10.1177/0149206316668236

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Hollnagel E, Woods DD (2005) Joint cognitive systems: foundations of cognitive systems engineering. CRC Press, Boca Raton

    Google Scholar 

  25. Horney K (1951) Neurosis and human growth: the struggle toward self-realization. Routledge & Kegan Paul, London

    Google Scholar 

  26. Inagaki T (2008) Smart collaboration between humans and machines based on mutual understanding. Ann Rev Control 32(2):253–261. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.arcontrol.2008.07.003Innes

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Innes JM, Morrison B (2020) Can we predict the outcomes of deep learning algorithms that simulate and replace professional skills? Understanding the threat of artificial intelligence. In: Andrews K, Papps FA, Mancini V, Clarkson L, Nicholson Perry K, Senior G, Brymer E (eds) Innovations in a changing world. Australian College of Applied Psychology, Sydney, pp 155–167

    Google Scholar 

  28. Ishida H (2005) College students’ perfectionism and task-strategy inefficience: why their efforts go unrewarded. Jpn J Soc Psychol 20(3):208–215

    Google Scholar 

  29. Johnston D, Morrison BW (2016) The application of naturalistic decision-making techniques to explore cue use in rugby league playmakers. J Cogn Eng Decis Mak 10(4):391–410. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555343416662181

    Article  Google Scholar 

  30. Kearns H, Forbes A, Gardiner M (2007) A cognitive behavioral coaching intervention for the treatment of perfectionism and self-handicapping in a non-clinical population. Behav Chang 24(3):157–172

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Kobori O, Tanno Y (2005) Self-oriented perfectionism and its relationship to positive and negative affect: the mediation of positive and negative perfectionism cognitions. Cogn Ther Res 29(5):555–567. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10608-005-2835-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  32. Lloyd S, Schmidt U, Khondoker M, Tchanturia K (2015) Can psychological interventions reduce perfectionism? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Behav Cogn Psychother 43(6):705–731. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1352465814000162

    Article  Google Scholar 

  33. Lyons, J. (2013). Being transparent about transparency: a model for human–robot interaction. In: AAAI spring symposium: trust and autonomous systems

  34. McArdle S (2010) Exploring domain-specific perfectionism. J Pers 78(2):493–508. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-6494.2010.00624.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. McMahon G, Rosen A (2008). Why perfectionism at work does not pay. Training Journal. https://www.thefreelibrary.com/

  36. Morrison BW, Wiggins MW, Porter G (2010) User preference for a control-based reduced-processing decision support interface. Int J Human Comput Interact 26(4):297–316. https://doi.org/10.1080/10447310903575465

    Article  Google Scholar 

  37. Morrison BW, Morrison NMV, Morton J, Harris J (2013) Using critical-cue inventories to advance virtual patient technologies in psychological assessment. In: Shen H, Smith R, Paay J, Calder P, Wyeld T (eds) Computer–human interaction conference: augmentation, application, innovation, collaboration. Association for Computing Machinery, New York, pp 531–534. https://doi.org/10.1145/2541016.2541085

    Google Scholar 

  38. Morrison BW, Wiggins MW, Morrison N (2018) Utility of expert cue exposure as a mechanism to improve decision-making performance among novice criminal investigators. J Cogn Eng Decis Mak 12(2):99–111. https://doi.org/10.1177/1555343417746570

    Article  Google Scholar 

  39. Perry NC, Wiggins MW, Childs M, Fogarty G (2012) Can reduced-processing decision support interfaces improve the decision-making of less-experienced incident commanders? Decis Support Syst 52(2):497–504. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.dss.2011.10.010

    Article  Google Scholar 

  40. Perry NC, Wiggins MW, Childs M, Fogarty G (2013) The application of reduced-processing decision support systems to facilitate the acquisition of decision-making skills. Hum Factors J Hum Factors Ergon Soc 55(3):535–544. https://doi.org/10.1177/0018720812467367

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Qualtrics (2019) Version 2019. [Web-based software]. Provo, UT: Qualtrics. http://www.qualtrics.com

  42. Rushby J (2002) Using model checking to help discover mode confusions and other automation surprises. Reliab Eng Syst Saf 75(2):167–177. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0951-8320(01)00092-8

    Article  Google Scholar 

  43. Shafron R, Cooper Z, Fairburn CG (2002) Clinical perfectionism: a cognitive–behavioural analysis. Behav Res Ther 40(7):773–791. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0005-7967(01)00059-6

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Shafran R, Cooper Z, Fairburn CG (2003) “Clinical perfectionism” is not “multidimensional perfectionism”: A reply to Hewitt, Flett, Besser, Sherry and McGee. Behav Res Ther 41(10):1217–1220. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0005-7967(03)00020-2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Sherry SB, Hewitt PL, Sherry DL, Flett GL, Graham AR (2010) Perfectionism dimensions and research productivity in psychology professors: implications for understanding the (mal)adaptiveness of perfectionism. Can J Behav Sci Revue Can Des Sci du Comport 42(4):273–283. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0020466

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Simon HA (1957) Models of man; social and rational. Wiley, New York

    Google Scholar 

  47. Slade PD, Owens RG (1998) A dual process model of perfectionism based on reinforcement theory. Behav Modif 22(3):372–390. https://doi.org/10.1177/01454455980223010

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Slaney RB, Rice KG, Mobley M, Trippi J, Ashby JS (2001) The revised almost perfect scale. Meas Eval Couns Dev 34(3):130–145. https://doi.org/10.1080/07481756.2002.12069030

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. Steele AL, Waite S, Egan SJ, Finnigan J, Handley A, Wade TD (2013) Psycho-education and group cognitive-behavioural therapy for clinical perfectionism: a case-series evaluation. Behav Cogn Psychother 41(02):129–143. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1352465812000628

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Stein MK, Smith MS (1998) Mathematical tasks as a framework for reflection: From research to practice. Math Teach Middle Sch 3(4):268–275

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Stoddart PE, Clance PR (2017) Identifying and managing personality styles that impair resilience in the workplace. In: Crane MF (ed) Managing for resilience: a practical guide for employee wellbeing and organizational performance. Routledge, New York, pp 32–58

    Google Scholar 

  52. Stoeber J (1998) The frost multidimensional perfectionism scale revisited: more perfect with four (instead of six) dimensions. Personal Individ Differ 24:481–491. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0191-8869(97)00207-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  53. Stoeber J (2011) Perfectionism, efficiency, and response bias in proof-reading performance: extension and replication. Personal Individ Differ 50(3):426–429. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2010.10.021

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Stoeber J (2012) Perfectionism and performance. In: Murphy S (ed) Oxford handbook of sport and performance psychology. Oxford University Press, New York, pp 294–306

    Google Scholar 

  55. Stoeber J, Damian LE (2016) Perfectionism in employees: work engagement, workaholism, and burnout. In: Sirois FM, Molnar DS (eds) Perfectionism, health, and well-being. Springer International Publishing, Berlin, pp 265–283. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-18582-8_12

    Google Scholar 

  56. Stoeber J, Eismann U (2007) Perfectionism in young musicians: relations with motivation, effort, achievement, and distress. Personal Individ Differ 43(8):2182–2192. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2007.06.036

    Article  Google Scholar 

  57. Stoeber J, Eysenck MW (2008) Perfectionism and efficiency: accuracy, response bias, and invested time in proof-reading performance. J Res Pers 42(6):1673–1678. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jrp.2008.08.001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Stoeber J, Gaudreau P (2017) The advantages of partialling PS and PC: critical issues and recommendations. Personal Individ Differ 104:379–386. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2016.08.039

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Stoeber J, Kersting M (2007) Perfectionism and aptitude test performance: testees who strive for perfection achieve better test results. Personal Individ Differ 42(6):1093–1103. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2006.09.012

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Stoeber J, Otto K (2006) Positive conceptions of perfectionism: approaches, evidence, challenges. Personal Soc Psychol Rev 10(4):295–319. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2006.09.006

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Stoeber J, Rambow A (2007) Perfectionism in adolescent school students: relations with motivation, achievement, and well-being. Personal Individ Differ 42(7):1379–1389. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2006.10.015

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Stoeber J, Stoeber FS (2009) Domains of perfectionism: prevalence and relationships with perfectionism, gender, age, and satisfaction with life. Personal Individ Differ 46(4):530–535. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2008.12.006

    Article  Google Scholar 

  63. Stoeber J, Chesterman D, Tarn T-A (2010) Perfectionism and task performance: time on task mediates the perfectionistic strivings-performance relationship. Personal Individ Differ 48(4):458–462. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2009.11.021

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Stoeber J, Haskew AE, Scott C (2015) Perfectionism and exam performance: the mediating effect of task-approach goals. Personal Individ Differ 74:171–176. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.paid.2014.10.016

    Article  Google Scholar 

  65. Tversky A (1972) Elimination by aspects: a theory of choice. Psychol Rev 79(4):281

    Article  Google Scholar 

  66. Vanderhaegen F, Carsten O (2017) Can dissonance engineering improve risk analysis of human–machine systems? Cogn Technol Work 19:1–12. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10111-017-0405-7

    Article  Google Scholar 

  67. Wickens CD, McCarley JS (2008) Applied attention theory. Taylor & Francis, Boca Raton

    Google Scholar 

  68. Wiggins MW, Bollwerk S (2006) Heuristic-based information acquisition and decision-making among pilots. Hum Factors J Hum Factors Ergon Soc 48(4):734–746. https://doi.org/10.1518/001872006779166325

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Funding

This was not a funded study.

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Ben W. Morrison.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical review

This study was approved by the Navitas Professional Institute’s Human Research Ethics Committee.

Additional information

Publisher's Note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

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

Download citation

Keywords

  • Perfectionism
  • Personality
  • Reduced-processing
  • Decision-making
  • Training
  • Heuristics