ERIC Number: ED207215
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1980-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Estimation of Time Requirements During Planning: Interactions Between Motivation and Cognition.
To test people's ability to underestimate time requirements during planning, researchers conducted three experiments in which subjects had to estimate the time needed to do hypothetical errands in an imaginary town. The subjects comprised three separate groups of students and citizens. Variables tested included the number of errands, the total available time, time required per errand, and travel time. The first experiment confirmed previous findings that people tend to underestimate time requirements and hence plan to do more than they can achieve. The second and third experiments tested two factors influencing time estimation: people's cognitive tendency to plan at high levels of abstraction and the motivational tendency to wish to do all the tasks considered. The cognitive tendency was examined by giving the subjects detailed breakdowns of required actions. The resulting time estimates were higher and more realistic. In the third experiment the errands were assigned levels of importance. Subjects with more important errands had larger underestimates of time requirements. These results lead the authors to suggest that planners should operate at optimal levels of abstraction and should be prevented from incorporating too many tasks in their plans. (RW)
The Rand Corp., 1700 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90406 ($3.00).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Naval Research, Arlington, VA. Personnel and Training Research Programs Office.
Authoring Institution: Rand Corp., Santa Monica, CA.