Abstract for: How best to present model structure to decision makers? An experimental study of the effectiveness of the Forio model explorer

Making decisions in a complex dynamic environment is very difficult, and often decision makers do not make optimal choices (Moxnes, 2004). Typically system dynamicists attempt to reveal model structure to decision makers so that they can better understand the system and make better choices. For this study I test the effectiveness of a tool called the model explorer vs. a stock and flow diagram to see which is more effective at helping decision makers make better choices in complex dynamic environments. The results of this study were inconclusive. The model explorer participants succeeded at the task 33% of the time vs. 12.5% of the time for the stock and flow participants. There were not enough overall participants for this result to be statistically significant. Also in this experiment I devise a method for testing for type 1 error due to trial and error and discover that it is quite effective at catching participants whose results are based on guessing rather then understanding of the dynamics of the task.