Using System-wide Trust Theory to Analyze Passenger Loss of Trust in Aircraft Automation

Open Access
Conference Proceedings
Authors: Scott R. WinterStephen RiceKatie M. Reid

Abstract: The current study focuses on airline passengers and how they might be affected by the contagion of an unreliable automated device. Participants took part in an online survey where they were presented with a scenario in which they were on an airline flight and oxygen masks erroneously dropped from the compartment above. They were then asked to rate their trust in that automated device, along with four other unrelated devices (auto-pilot system, flaps, landing gear, and video screen). In a control condition, no error occurred with the oxygen masks, and trust was high for all automated devices. In the experimental condition, trust was lower for all automated devices. In fact, in most cases, trust in the other automated devices dropped nearly as much as it did for the unreliable device. These results show that system-wide trust theory can make accurate predictions about the contagious effects of unreliable automated devices on otherwise unknown or reliable devices for non-expert airline passengers. This provides evidence that people tend to: a) view different automated components of an aircraft as part of a system even when they are logically independent of each other; and b) distrust other components of that “system” when one component fails.

Keywords: System-wide trust, trust in automation, consumer perceptions, airline passengers, reliability

DOI: 10.54941/ahfe100709

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