Abstract for: Testing Dynamic Decision Making Under Real-Time Pressure: A Scuba Diving Simulator

Experimental decision making studies are typically done in environments where subjects have plentiful time before making decisions. In this research, a scuba diving simulator is developed for experimental analysis of decision making under real-time pressure, in dynamic feedback environment. In our clock-driven scuba diving simulator, subjects make decisions in real-time, continuously, which enables us to study effect of game speed (time pressure) on performance and learning. Results show that game speed has significant effect on subjects’ performances. Material and information delays are further incorporated to evaluate effects of delays. Both information and material delays are found significantly influential on performance. However, performance differences between delay and no-delay games decrease with practice. Since games attempt to simulate experiential learning, subjects having real diving experience may be expected to perform better than inexperienced ones. Interestingly, no significant difference is found between those with scuba-diving experience and those without. A feature of the game is the fact that the control problem that subjects face is under strong influence of a positive feedback loop. Combined with delays and nonlinearity, the game illustrates how complex the control problem can become even for a small model. Performances of subjects in most trials are strongly oscillatory