M.Sc Thesis

M.Sc StudentZalmanov Hagar
SubjectMedia Effect on Problem Solving Under Time Constraints
DepartmentDepartment of Industrial Engineering and Management
Supervisor ASSOCIATE PROF. Rakefet Ackerman
Full Thesis textFull thesis text - English Version


Performing tasks under mild time constraints may improve effort regulation and performance efficiency. Previous studies have shown that subjects who learned texts on screen under a time pressure were less efficient and less accurate in their subjective assessment of their achievements than subjects who learned the texts on paper. These findings point to an impaired effort regulation when performing a reading task on screen under time pressure. However, this difference in performance could stem from participants' preconceived notion that long texts are normally read on paper, while the screen serves as a media for shorter, less complex texts.

Using brief verbal riddles, the compound remote associates test, this study aimed to investigate the effects of time constraints on effort regulation on screen and on paper, without using long strenuous texts. Experiment 1 tested problem solving when solution time was freely regulated. Performance level and confidence level did not differ between the two media, nor did the gap between them, which measures the extent of the solver's overconfidence. Experiment 2 examined whether the media differ when a time frame is introduced, comparing problem solving under time pressure and problem solving within a defined but ample time frame. No differences between the media were found under the ample time condition. However, working under time pressure led to a difference among the groups in overconfidence: Solving under time pressure on paper led to lowered confidence, while performance levels remained as high as those reached in ample time. Solving under the same time conditions on screen led to equivalent levels of confidence, but lower performance compared to solving in ample time. These findings point to time pressure, rather than just a time frame, as the source for the lower efficiency on screen than on paper. This study joins studies with lengthy texts in suggesting that performing lexical tasks on screen under time pressure results in a less efficient working pattern.