Effects of trust, self-confidence, and feedback on the use of decision automation

Rebecca Wiczorek, Joachim Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Operators often fail to rely sufficiently on alarm systems. This results in a joint human-machine (JHM) sensitivity below the one of the alarm system. The 'confidence vs. trust hypothesis' assumes the use of the system depends on the weighting of both values. In case of higher confidence, the task is performed manually, if trust is higher, the user relies on the system. Thus, insufficient reliance may be due to operators' overconfidence in their own abilities and/or insufficient trust in the decision automation, but could be mitigated by providing feedback. That was investigated within a signal detection task, supported by a system with either higher sensitivity (HSS) or lower sensitivity (LSS) than the human, while being provided with feedback or not. We expected disuse of the LSS and insufficiently reliance on the HSS, in the condition without feedback. The feedback was expected to increase reliance on the HSS through an increase in trust and/or decreases in confidence, and thus, improve performance. Hypotheses were partly supported. Confidence in manual performance was similar to trust in the HSS even though humans' sensitivity was significantly lower than systems' sensitivity. While confidence had not effect on reliance or JHM sensitivity, trust was found to be positively related with both. We found disuse of the HSS, that could be improved through feedback, increasing also trust and JHM sensitivity. However, contrary to 'confidence vs. trust' expectations, participants were also found to make use of the LSS. This misuse could not be reduced by feedback. Results indicate the use of feedback being beneficial for the overall performance (with HSS only). Findings do not support the idea that misuse or disuse of the system may result from comparison of confidence and trust. We suppose it may rather be the product of users' wrong strategy of function allocation, based on the underlying idea of team work in combination with missing assignment of responsibility. We discuss this alternative explanation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number519
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberMAR
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Alarm system
  • Confidence
  • Decision aid
  • Feedback
  • Function allocation
  • Trust

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Psychology


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