Cognitive heuristics and biases in process control and maintenance work

Jari Laarni (Corresponding author)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientificpeer-review

Abstract

People are prone to use various kinds of cognitive heuristics to simplify decision making especially in demanding situations. Sometimes, these heuristics expose them to failures in judgement, which may lead to errors. Even though these kind of failures are also possible in process industries, there is little research on the effect of cognitive biases on process control and maintenance work. In the present paper, we provide suggestions of how heuristics and biases may appear in these tasks in nuclear domain. Overall, our observations suggest that operative and maintenance personnel may be prone to commit biases also in nuclear domain. We have reviewed existing literature on the effect of cognitive biases in NPP incidents and accidents, and we describe some of the most well-known biases and give examples of their application for decision making in nuclear domain. We have also analyzed failures and problem situations in a simulator study conducted in a Finnish NPP. A small set of failures of judgement could be identified in which some forms of cognitive biases may have manifested themselves. The present paper is one of the first systematic reviews on effects of cognitive heuristics and biases among operative and maintenance personnel in NPPs and ways to prevent them. Our next step would be to analyze more systematically a set of cognitive errors specific to operative and maintenance activities in nuclear domain in order to identify occurrences of cognitive biases and illusions in them.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication11th Nuclear Plant Instrumentation, Control, and Human-Machine Interface Technologies
Subtitle of host publicationNPIC and HMIT 2019
PublisherAmerican Nuclear Society ANS
Pages1620-1630
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9780894487835
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
Event11th Nuclear Plant Instrumentation, Control, and Human-Machine Interface Technologies, NPIC and HMIT 2019 - Orlando, United States
Duration: 9 Feb 201914 Feb 2019

Conference

Conference11th Nuclear Plant Instrumentation, Control, and Human-Machine Interface Technologies, NPIC and HMIT 2019
Abbreviated titleNPIC and HMIT 2019
CountryUnited States
CityOrlando
Period9/02/1914/02/19

Keywords

  • Cognitive heuristics
  • Control room operator
  • Decision making
  • Troubleshooting

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Cognitive heuristics and biases in process control and maintenance work'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Laarni, J. (2019). Cognitive heuristics and biases in process control and maintenance work. In 11th Nuclear Plant Instrumentation, Control, and Human-Machine Interface Technologies: NPIC and HMIT 2019 (pp. 1620-1630). American Nuclear Society ANS.