Target acquisition tasks in natural environments are often augmented by cuing systems that advise human observers during the decision process. With present technological limitations, cuing systems are imperfect, so the question arises whether cuing aids should be implemented under all conditions. We examined target acquisition performance under different levels of task complexity and cuing system reliability. We introduce here two new methods to help define observer behavior trends in cued target acquisition: a quantitative measure of observer search behavior in a temporal sense and a measure of the extent of observer reliance on the cue. We found that observer reliance on the cue correlated with task difficulty and the perceived reliability of the cue. Cuing was generally helpful in complex tasks, whereas cuing reduced performance in easy tasks. Consequently, cuing systems should be implemented only when the task is difficult enough to warrant the intrusion of a cue into the task. Actual or potential applications of this research include the design and implementation of imperfect automated aids dealing with augmented reality.