Effects of Time Scale Focus on System Understanding in Decision Support Systems Academic Article uri icon


  • Successfully managing dynamic complex systems requires an understanding of how structure influences both short-and long-term behavior. Therefore, decision support systems designed to improve performance by increasing user understanding require features that address both short and long time scales. The authors report the results of empirical research on the effects of features that facilitate different time scale focuses by users of management flight simulators on system understanding. System understanding was measured in two ways: with questions about structural relationships and by performance measures pertaining to the management of a complex system. Participants were divided into two time scale groups. Results were disaggregated based on causal distance and the timing of impacts to relate time scale focus and system understanding. A second experiment evaluated and improved the hypothesis to include the interaction of the time scale of system control and the time scale focus on improving system understanding and performance in managing dynamic systems.

published proceedings

  • Simulation & Gaming

author list (cited authors)

  • Ford, D. N., & McCormack, D.

citation count

  • 26

complete list of authors

  • Ford, David N||McCormack, Dalton EM

publication date

  • January 2000