Basic Study on Prevention of Human Error- How Cognitive Biases Distort Decision Making and Lead to Crucial Accidents -
Authors: Atsuo MURATA, Tomoko NAKAMURA
Abstract: On the basis of the analysis of past case studies of accidents, it was examined how cognitive biases were ubiquitous in the process of accident outbreak, distorted decision making, and led to crucial accidents. We made an attempt to point out that cognitive biases distort decision making and are potentially related to crucial accidents. Using a few cases of crucial accidents (Challenger space shuttle disaster, collision accident between the Japanese Aegis-equipped destroyer “Atago” and fishing boat, and Three Mile Island nuclear power plant accident), it was demonstrated how cognitive biases are related to these accidents. It was demonstrated that heuristic-based biases such as confirmation bias, groupthink, and social loafing surely appeared in the process of accident breakout. Overconfidence-based biases such as illusion of control, fallacy of plan, and optimistic bias were also ubiquitous in the route to a crucial accident. Moreover, framing biases was found to contribute to the distorted decision making, and eventually turn into the main cause of crucial accident. In such a way, as well as human factors or ergonomics approaches, the prevention and the deletion of cognitive biases were indispensable for preventing crucial accidents from occurring.
Keywords: Cognitive Bias, Confirmation Bias, Groupthink, Fallacy of Control, Fallacy of Plan, Framing.
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