CRM Decision making in pilots

Topics: Daniel Kahneman, Decision making, Heuristics Pages: 5 (990 words) Published: October 28, 2013
A Decison Making Model

There is a tendancy to make decisions automatically rather than taking a systematic approach. It is still important to monitor yourself, and when possible follow this decision making model (Smith, 2002[2]):

Detect - Detect that a change has occured
Estimate - Estimate the need for action to adapt to the change Choose - Choose the most desirable outcome
Identify - Identification of actions which will successfully control the change Do - Carry out the chosen actions
Evaluate - Evaluate the effect of the action/s

Factors Affecting Decision Making

Physical Fitness

There are many physical factors that can affect the efficiency of our brain. Pilots should follow the IMSAFE model, as a personal pre-flight inspection process.
I - Illness
M - Medication
S - Stress
A - Alcohol and Drugs
F - Fatigue
E - Eating and Drinking

One thing that is important to note is that many pilots do not realise how much dehydration can affect them. Take a water bottle with you in flight, and make sure you keep drinking water through out the day.


Stress can have a huge affect on our ability to process information.
There are many things that can help to reduce stress incuding:
•Getting a good nights sleep
•Looking after your physical fitness
•Plan, Plan, Plan
•Back up plans
•Dont put yourself in a situation which may be stressful in the first place - Avoid weather such as thunderstorms/ Turbulence, fly a route which avoids certain stressful situtations.
•Control the physical environment (E.g. Temperature, wear sunglasses, etc.) •Manage workload by using times of low activity to plan ahead and prepare. •Shed unnecessary work items during high workload times (e.g. general chatter among crew members is usually ceased during take off and landing. This is called a "sterile cockpit". Information specific to the task is the only thing discussed.)

Attitudes and Biases

Decisions are more commonly made based on how we feel, rather than logic. This can be affected by our attitude at the time. For example, many pilots are very goal-orientated, and tend to suffer from "get-home-itis". Pilots need to be self aware, and make sure they are not displaying a hazardous attitude. Another emotional factor that can affect our decisions is embarrassment. Once a decision is made (for example to take off into marginal weather) it can be easy to recalibrate your risk criteria, and accept larger risks than you would normally.

Confirmation Bias

(See confirmation bias.)
Gathering information to support your pre-formed conclusions about what is happening, rather than seeing the world as it is (Wikipedia 2009[1]).
Optimism Bias (Wishful thinking)

A tendency to be optimistic about the future, rather than logically assessing the facts. A common example would be pilots proceding into poor weather on the bases that "…it will probably improve" rather than thinking about the fact that it may get worse. (Wikipedia 2009[1])

Group Think/ Peer Pressure

(See Group Behaviour)
A tendency to conform to what other members of the group are saying rather than following your own judgement.
Hindsight Bias

This refers to our judgements about events that already have happened. This occurs when an event has happened, and we are overconfident that it would have happened inevitabley. The hindsight bias demonstrates that we often reconstruct the past so that it matches our present knowledge (Schacter, 2001 as cited in Matlin, 2009[5]).


Heuristics are strategies using readily accessible, though loosely applicable, information to control problem solving in human beings and machines (Wiki, 2012[4])
Representativeness Heuristic

The representativeness heuristic supposes that whether we judge a sample as likely, depends upon how similar it is to the sample population from which it was selected. For example, a pilot may look at an...
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