Title: Shared mental models for cooperative fault diagnosis: effects on communication and diagnostic performance

Authors: Rica Bönsel; Romy Müller

Addresses: Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV, Dresden, Germany ' Engineering Psychology and Applied Cognitive Research, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany

Abstract: To diagnose faults in a process plant, teams of physically separated operators must work together. They have access to differing information sources and need to rely on verbal communication, which can lead to various problems. Shared mental models facilitate team interaction, but most previous research collected information about mental models post-hoc. The present study manipulated the similarity of mental models by varying the amount of knowledge that participants received in an instruction phase. Three groups of ten dyads jointly diagnosed five faults in a simulated process plant, while either sharing a task model, a team model, or both. Teams that shared both models communicated less and used communication categories that differed from teams who only shared one model. Performance did not differ between groups, except for fewer rule violations when sharing both models. The findings suggest it may be beneficial to train all team members on the complete team task.

Keywords: shared mental models; task model; team model; cooperative fault diagnosis; team communication; process industries.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2021.118214

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2021 Vol.8 No.3, pp.215 - 244

Received: 25 Aug 2020
Accepted: 21 Feb 2021

Published online: 15 Oct 2021 *

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