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Title: Decision making in exceptional circumstances: experts' attitude towards artefacts as preparation for encountering unexpected situations

Authors: Ossi Heino

Addresses: Police University College, P.O. Box 123, FI-33721, Tampere, Finland

Abstract: Operational ability in unexpected situations and exceptional circumstances may require an ability to let go of the tools and operating models that have proven effective in anticipated situations and normal conditions. This article examines the relationship between actors and physical and cognitive artefacts whose purpose is to enable actors to tackle an increasingly diverse range of problems and to solve them in a more perceptive, stable and confident manner. What is rarely discussed, however, is the flip side of this dimension of improved operational ability. The research data was collected by in-depth interviews in order to examine the cognitive processes explaining this type of operational ability displayed by top experts in emergency medical care, trauma surgery, and bomb disposal. The finding of the study is that rather than being neutral, artefacts trigger conditioned responses in their users. These responses are not always unequivocally useful for solving the situation at hand.

Keywords: exceptional situations; artefacts; operational ability; crisis situations.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHFE.2021.118220

International Journal of Human Factors and Ergonomics, 2021 Vol.8 No.3, pp.277 - 293

Received: 03 Mar 2021
Accepted: 26 Apr 2021

Published online: 15 Oct 2021 *

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